Those who read this blog probably know of other beer blogs that are out there. It's interesting to read different ones and see the perspective that each blogger is writing from. After the beer bloggers conference ended, many people wrote multi-part blogs that covered each day of the conference. Others posted videos of their experiences in Boston. As a recent addition to the blogging world and a first time conference attendee, I've decided it would be best for me to give a broader view on the conference as a whole.
For me, the first day was all about introductions. Things kicked off with a trade show, at which I was introduced to several breweries that I had never even heard of before. Not only did I get the chance to try many new beers, but I also got to start picking up some "beer schwag," the promotional items that both bloggers and breweries gave out for free throughout the entire conference. On top of that, I had the opportunity to meet beer bloggers from across the country that I had been following over the internet for a long time. Over the course of the conference there were plenty of "twitroductions," or in-person meetings of people following each other on Twitter. The most exciting thing for me was finally being able to meet the crew behind the SBL Podcast!
After that, I had the opportunity to introduce Boston's craft beer scene to those who hadn't yet experienced it. We traveled to the Samuel Adams brewery on a bus, and on the ride there I began pouring what would be the first of many "bus beers," Trillium's Fort Point Pale Ale. There was a palpable feeling of excitement when we arrived at our destination, perhaps because everyone was a little buzzed.
I became just as excited as the evening progressed. We were treated to a keynote speech from Jim Koch himself, who later invited us to taste some 10th anniversary Utopias with him in the barrel room. If that wasn't enough, they had a variety of special beers on tap for us along with a nice spread of beer-infused food for us to enjoy! It was a fun night, to say the least.
The second day seemed to be more educational. There was a long list of presentations on the agenda, each one covering a different topic related to beer, blogging, or both. The beers kept pouring and the information kept coming. Being new to this, I did my best to soak it all in like a sponge. It was a long day, but I learned a lot!
On the final day of the conference, things got a bit more personal. The bloggers themselves were able to take their turns giving presentations about what they do and where they came from. Afterwards Ray Daniels, Founder and Director of the Cicerone Certification Program, gave a closing keynote speech in which he shared his story with us and gave us all some advice on how to become better writers. I am truly grateful to have learned so much from those with such a wealth of experience.
To write about each and every event we attended in detail would take a great deal of time. From the Heavy Seas party at Stoddard's to our visit to the Harpoon Beer Hall, there was a lot going on. Needless to say, the weekend was a whirlwind of sorts. Though, even with the nonstop drinking and learning, I still wish we had more time.
If there was one takeaway from the conference for me, it was this: don't underestimate the value of quality time. The Beer Bloggers Conference brings together people who have priceless stories and lessons to share with others. It's not often that you're able to have a conversation about beer with so many knowledgeable people at once. If for that reason alone, I'd recommend attending the conference. If you're anything like me, it will be one of the most valuable experiences you've ever had.