2013 Beer Bloggers Conference or: Brewfus Takes on Boston

If you were following my Twitter feed in the latter portion of this July, you may have been shocked, appalled, and even offended by a barrage of tweets that occurred over the span of 72 hours. If you happened to be one of the few that un-followed me, or were offended, I am not sorry. Because I was having the time of my life in Boston, at the Beer motherfuckin' Bloggers Conference. Yeah, that's right. 150 or so alcoholics beer bloggers, all gathered in one hotel for a weekend of beer, beer, food, and beer. And cheese. So much cheese.

For the non-bloggers, something like the Beer Bloggers Conference could be incredibly boring. Asides from all the drinking for breakfast, drinking for lunch, and drinking for dinner, there are a lot of incredible opportunities to learn from all aspects of the industry. It would be easy for me to inundate you with all the information I was slapped in the face with, but I'm not going to do that. If you want to learn more about the finer aspects of the Conference, there are other bloggers who do that way better than I do. And If I have my way, I will have a list of other blog posts from other attendees chronicling their Beer Blogger Conference 2013 Adventures. As I write this, I still haven't figured out the direction of where this post is going, but whatever. We'll figure it out together on this wild ride...

Alright, get on the bus!

Friday

I arrived here, after a grueling overnight 10+ hour train ride:

Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Could be worse, right?

Everyone else was still in Portland for the pre-conference excursion, and it was only 8:30 in the morning. I had about 6 hours to kill before all those slackers got back to Boston. What the hell was I going to do?

Eat all of the caramel apple french toast. And take a nap.
I ended up taking a seat and striking up conversation with some trouble maker, who goes by the name of Joesph. I'm pretty sure he has a slight case of schizophrenia, as he also goes by the name of CraftBeerCoach. Joe is also the creator of a upcoming craft beer app that goes by the name of BrewHorn. We totally became BBC13 BFFs. We sat and chatted until my room was ready. It was still only about 11:30 by this time. HURRY THE HELL BACK TO BOSTON EVERYONE ELSE! In all actuality, I couldn't be too upset. I had been on the train for 10+ hours, and only a few hours before that, I was on a plane coming back from Kentucky. It had been a long day, and I no doubt smelled awful.

Fancy digs, right? And the door makes "beep boop" sounds. Future style.

After lunch with Joe at Stoddards Fine Food and Ale, it was time to be...social.

Things kicked off with the trade show, which was fun. Lots of beer samples from Heavy Seas, Woodchuck, and others. Cabot Cheese was there, plugging up our insides. I was interviewed for something, and remember making a fool of myself (I've never been interviewed before, and on camera) pretty hard. There was some weird hemp cereal (other BBC13 attendees, did you eat this? It tasted like sawdust and bark) that I grabbed, too. I figured "fuck it, it's free" and threw it in my cheese bag (purse). It was a lot of people, in a little spot, in the midst of a lobby that was as busy as...something really busy. Seriously, that lobby was packed with people at all times. Enough beer to get a little buzz on, some snacks, and we we're on our way.

And this is where the fun really began. We piled on the bus for a beer soaked ride to Boston Beer Company for dinner, beer, and Jim Koch. It was...goddamned awesome. We get there to a spread of chairs, each one with can of Boston lager, and a really beautiful bottle opener. Luckily for me, there was no one sitting to the right of me. SCORE! We listened to Julia Herz (from CraftBeer.com) talk about how important we are to the beer industry. After she dropped some nuggets of wisdom, Jim Koch was up next. In the same candor he displays on TV and on print, he was in great form. He spoke to us about the history of the building we were in, and what it was like making craft beer, before craft beer was craft beer. It was a lot of fun, and seemed genuine and personal. Not a rehearsed or canned speech he had prepared. It was blatantly obvious from the number of times "ummm" was peppered through out the speech. Between Cambria from The Bruery and I, we were giggling our asses off. It was a great keynote speech, no doubt.


BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

Jim brought us in back, to a room full of barrels, where years and years of future releases of Utopias were sitting before us. And then you know what that man did? That motherfucker poured some 10th Anniversary Utopias for each of us, and sat and bullshitted with us, and told us how Utopias came to be. And it was awesome. After that, there was a full spread of food and beer. And some of the beers were experimental batches. It was truly an unforgettable experience

There were cupcakes too. And I ate all of them.
.
We capped off the night with a hell of a party at Stoddard's, with beer being provided from the extremely generous Heavy Seas brewing (my local guys!). THIS...was one hell of a party. Hugh Sisson joined us, and gave us a toast that will stand the test of time, with his pirate-y inflection. And then...we drank. Man, did we drink. This was one of my favorite things of all of BBC13. It really gave me an opportunity to see and meet my fellow bloggers in our natural environment and state of mind; At a bar, and drunk.

The beer was flowing, friendships were being formed, and we're surrounded by our peers. Not only were we in one of my new favorite bars, but the beer was free, plentiful, and tasty. You couldn't ask for a better time. And if you complain about free beer, at a beautiful bar that closed their doors for us, then..well.

Seriously though:

Look at all those miserable people

I stumbled back to my hotel room, didn't drink enough water, and passed out.


Saturday


To be fair, that baby is what woke me up in time to start my day, and not miss anything. But still, shut up.

Today was the day when a whole lot of science was about to be dropped on us. I was nervous, excited and still slightly drunk.

That's ok Jake, I'm here to make you feel better, baby.
With bottles popped at 9:30 in the morning, It was on. Current State of Beer Blogging, How To Pour A Heineken, How To Be A Social Media Jester, How Beer Bloggers Are Way Better Than Wine Bloggers, and all those other important topics. I took away a lot of helpful things which I will sum up in a handful of tweets.






My favorite part of all of this though, was the industry bloggers. It's incredibly re-affirming that these dorks are just as dorky as us, and get to be dorks with places like The Bruery, Woodchuck Cider, Schlafly, and Oskar Blues. Sometimes I have "fuck it" moments, and seeing them up there, working a dream job just gave me the momentum to keep chugging along. These guys gave us all kinds of useful tips!



No, but in all seriousness from my vantage point, seeing these established breweries have people out here with us lowly beer bloggers speaks a lot about their level of respect they have for us. But there was one nagging question I had:


Short answer? Yes. Great!

The rest of the afternoon was a haze of food and beer pairings, and Frank Evers making a lot of fart noises with his mouth.


Frank Evers is the Draught Master from Heineken, and all preconceived notions were dumped out the window when he was done. He gave one of the most fun, and entertaining talks all day. And yes, educational too. 

After a morning and afternoon of "blah blah blah," we were whisked off for the next stressful, hair raising, and fun adventure. Speed Blogging at Burke Distributors.

Look at all these rabblerousers, all drunk and tweeting about butts.

A group of local breweries had 5 minutes to pour us a beer, describe it to us, and have us...do things on the internet about it. Be it Tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it, Untapp it, whatever. Screw that noise. I don't work well under pressure, and I barely could get a signal to my phone. I spent the time drinking the beers, and staring at my phone with a dumb look on my face. Most of the fun, honestly, was getting your tweets up on the huge screen displaying the twitter feed for "#BBC13." Pretty sure I did some of my best work that day. But nothing compares to #buttsbuttsbuttsbuttsbuttsbuttsbutts. And when all was said and done, you took your blue ticket that everyone was dumbfounded about, and got some ice cream from an ice cream truck parked outside for us (I got Spider-Man)! Yeah, that was a killer touch. Well played, Burke. Well played indeed. 

I also learned (much later) that references to ejaculation on social media, no matter how good a beer is, is generally frowned upon. 

Did I mention there was cheese? And cheerleaders?

I have no idea who this is.
Dinner time! We got back on Death Bus 2013, and headed off to Harpoon. My god, Harpoon really rolled out the red carpet for us. They had our crowd sourced beer brewed just for us (an Imperial White IPA), had some awesome fresh baked pretzels and mustard (which I almost drank-it was that good), our own little tour of the joint, and the spread of food was enough to make me die. And again, all the beer we could drink. But seriously, the food. And the cheese. So much food and cheese. I think we had like, a 25 year old cheddar. And when I ate it, I died. So good. Harpoon definitely set the hospitality bar about a mile higher than anyone ever has.

To sum up my visit to Harpoon:



At this point, my phone was dead and it was time to head back to the hotel for the Saturday Night Beer Social. Let me sum it up for you: 9 breweries, blogger bottle share, free bottle free-for-all at the end of the night, and social media. Like I said though, my phone was dead, so I grabbed my pen, and my Moleskin beer journal and made like a high school girl- "Dear Journal..."

Later that night (earlier that morning), I somehow found my way up on some floor way high up in the hotel, with a private room full of other bloggers, and parties were had, beers were drank, and debauchery abounded. At 4am, I decided to call it a morning. One. More. Day.

Who doesn't want this at 2am?



Sunday

I'm pretty sure I was dead at this point. I had no inclination to put another beer to my lips. I just wanted to be alive and not die. All morning, in my head I was singing "being alive is great, and dying...not so great."


Today would be a great day though, because we were getting our first real live demo of BrewHorn App. I am not going to tell you about the app now. BUT...you can go to the website (http://signup.brewhorn.com/), follow him on twitter (@BrewHornBeerApp), or wait until he gets his shit together and puts together something I can put out on the blog. I can tell you this though. This app will make you think, and it will be incredibly useful. 

"That's the hypotenuse, and there is where you put in the flux capacitor."
The rest of the morning was full of other bloggers and writers talking about blogging and writing. The things that they have learned over the years to help them become successful, and the things that don't work. Another powerful session where I learned a lot more. I must have a hell of a bloggers arsenal now:


It was really cool of all of them to get up and speak in front of all of us (even though by this point the herd had thinned by a good 25%) and pass on whatever knowledge and wisdom they have acquired over the years. Maybe one day I'll be up there, also.


Or...maybe not.

Welp...that about wraps up my first Beer Bloggers Conference. There are other bloggers who also documented their experiences, and I would love to compile a list of links. Each person had a different experience, and each person documented it differently. its great to see all the varying posts. 

I hope you're jealous, I hope you read it all, and I hope I didn't bore you to death.



Oh, and this happened:



I made SO many friends that now live inside my computer.

The End.

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