Take twelve breweries, a hundred-plus beer bloggers and a buzzer, and go!
During the first-ever Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder last week, organizers lined up an event that they called live blogging, but it felt more like speed dating. A dozen brewers each had five minutes to present a beer -- typically, a rare, seasonal or flagship brew -- to a table of six to eight bloggers, pour it and collect feedback. At the end of the allotted time, a buzzer would sound and the brewer would move on to the next table.
Meanwhile, the bloggers, who came from all over the country for the conference, tried to absorb as much information as they could about the beer -- and drink as much beer as they could absorb -- and then blog about it on their laptops or smartphones.
Some took pictures, some tweeted, but everyone was madly typing away.
It was a crash course in beer tasting, and it left both the brewers, including local reps for Breckenridge Brewing, Odell Brewing, New Belgium, New Planet, AC Golden and Great Divide and the bloggers winded, buzzed and happy. As Rob Widmer, co-owner of Portland, Oregon's venerable Widmer Brothers Brewing, said, "In 24 years, I've never done anything like this."
My tablemates managed to come to a consensus on a number of the Colorado beers, including Odell's latest incarnation of Mountain Standard, officially released at 4:30 p.m. MST on November 6, just before the end of Daylight Savings Time, and a definite crowd-pleaser. So was Great Divide's Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and New Belgium's La Folie Sour Brown.
Even AC Golden's Colorado Native lager got props for tasting clean and fresh.
Other highlights included: Rogue's Chocolate Stout, poured by Sebbie Buhler, the woman who is pictured on the bottle; and Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout, an eighteen percent ABV powerhouse delivered by brewery co-owner Mariah Calagione.