Bloggers to Now

With the completion of the 2018 Beer Bloggers Conference, changes are afoot. The big news is that the more vague name of Beer Now has been adopted. How that includes social influencers (feel dirty just typing that) along with bloggers and writers is a bit baffling to me. Sounds like a delivery service.

The actual exciting news is that the conference will be in Montana. In Great Falls to be exact and the Montana Beer Festival is on the itinerary.

The conference will be held from June 6th to the 8th, next year. With more details to come as the event draws closer.

One other thing to mention, the price to register really ramps up hard. So, make your decision soon or become comfortable paying more for deciding later.

Influence Peddlers

Count me as a fan of the Beer Bloggers Conference. (Now if only I had a Bruce Wayne / Oliver Queen backer to get me to Asheville this year.)  One of the fun services they provide is a list of Influential Beer Websites that they base on:

Alexa Rating: While this is not a perfect indicator of a website’s popularity, it is easy to access and relatively accurate.
Facebook Likes: Given the influence of social media, we considered the number of Facebook likes.
Twitter Followers: The same goes for Twitter.

Considering the wildness of the web, those tools are fine if influence is measured by traffic alone.  What it doesn’t, and possibly can’t measure, is the cultural impact of a website.  You are going to see your local brewery or beer bar on this list but they may have an outsize impact on the community relative to size.  I would posit that the Brewers Association website may not have the Twitter following of Coors but they are a bigger player who affect and cause discussions around the country.  Same with home brewers and home brewing clubs. They generate talk.  Which is a different type of social minus the media.

So take this list with a grain of salt or a glass of Gose.
1    Heineken 63
2    Beer Advocate  57
3    Dogfish Head Craft Brewery  52
4    New Belgium Brewing  50
5    Stone Brewing Company 48
6    Bud Light   45
7 tie    Budweiser  42
7 tie    Coors Light  42
9    Miller Lite  41
10    Untapped   29
11    Sierra Nevada Brewing Company   28
12    Rogue Ales   26
13    Samuel Adams  25
14 tie    Drink Craft Beer 24
14 tie    BJ’s Brewhouse   24
14 tie    Dos Equis     24
14 tie    BrewDog    24
14 tie   24
19 tie    Guinness   22
19 tie    More Beer!   22

BBC14 – Review & Photos


Now that some time has passed since the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference finished it is time to post a full review of the event itself.  Some items you may gleaned from the daily recaps but I would be remiss if I didn’t both explain further and add my two cents on how to improve next year’s version in Asheville, North Carolina.

(To break the tedium, I will add some photos in between points.)

Above is a real Stone brewer and his photo. Which is which?

On to the conference review, Stone brought their game as did Lagunitas (to an even larger extent). I expected that. But for a conference placed in San Diego, I wonder why Lagunitas was featured. AleSmith. Ballast Point. Pick a brewery. And that is my largest complaint. Why have an event in a city if you don’t show off that city to the max? And this is no slight to the generosity of Lagunitas. It was the highlight of my trip. And it is no slight to Yard House which, in my mind, occupies an important part of the craft beer food chain. But, in my opinion, if the Asheville planning doesn’t include more North Carolina specific locales then I would hesitate to attend.

The only Vaping, I would ever do.

Also on the needs work tab is the scheduling. Too many events could have been improved by being in better time slots. The 8 blogger 5 minute presentations would have made a bigger impact earlier in the conference and not on Sunday morning when the majority of attendees were either hung or tired or both. Same for a couple of blogging technical seminars that were placed between big names like and dinner. I would seriously consider just having a breakfast with coffee beers on Sunday morning and nothing else. Also the Bottle Share HAS to be earlier in the evening. It would have drawn more people and been more appreciated if people weren’t (take a guess) hung or dead tired.

A new and soon to come beer with licorice from Goose Island

That being said. I enjoyed the conference tremendously. It is great to see old faces and meet new ones. The quality and amount of beer is beyond the pale and the hotel and pace of the conference is well done. And to have David Walker, Ken Grossman, Peter Zien, Tomme Arthur and Chuck Silva (who sat at our table for a bit) around is awesome. The generosity abounds and not enough thank you’s will suffice.  I wouldn’t go three out of five times if it was a poor.  I learned about the history of San Diego brewing.  I learned some new tricks and had old ones validated.  Most of all I saw the passion of other bloggers and that always energizes me.  I think that part of the reason why I needed a month off from beer blogging last year was due to not being at the conference for two years running.  That speaks volumes to the quality.

BBC14 Extra-Curricular Highlights

Where else did we go when in San Diego county when not attending the BBC14?

Stopped at Pizza Port Bressi Ranch for Sharknado on cask and Draft Punk Biere de Table. Plus pizza.
Convict’s Voyage Australian IPA at the Little Italy Ballast Point location
Visiting not one but TWO Bottlecraft locations.
Visiting not one but TWO Bottlecraft locations.


Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 – Day 2 Report


Day 2 in Mission Valley in San Diego, our host for the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference.

Learning day! Multiple break-out sessions either tangentially or directly targeted at bloggers. With the key and most important talk coming from Ken Grossman, the keynote speaker. The man behind Sierra Nevada. He spoke about Beer Camp and the tour that wound it’s way from Chico to Mills River in North Carolina. I think it was better to hear about the bus and the AC breaking down than to experience it.

Before that, we had choices for topics. I went to photography first followed by Beer Blogging Ethics. Both held nuggets of good information but starting with the photo session which seemed targeted at a more PR/Art photography rather than the “in the trenches” photography from a bar or festival. The main take-away was learning your camera and your editing software so that creating better photos becomes second nature.

The ethics session was good in concept but not executed well despite the combined wisdom of Jay Brooks and Brandon Hernandez who have held numerous positions in beer writing. The free flowing Q&A should have been ditched for more questions from the moderator who has a legal and blogging background and could have led the discussion instead of letting go the reins.

Lunch was at Yard House. I was not there. Too sponsor-y to me and I don’t need to come to San Diego for their food and taps. I came for San Diego beer. So fellow blogger Richard and I headed to the FlavorDome. That will be a separate post.

After Ken Grossman concluded his well done speech and announced that BBC15 will be Asheville, North Carolina we went into technical blogging and social media techniques. Me being contrary to all things SEO, I wrote this post instead. Also because I knew that major beer drinking was ahead. That too will be covered later……



Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 – Day 1 Report


Lovely Mission Valley in San Diego played host to the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference.

We arrived near Charger/Qualcomm stadium to meet bloggers and taste beer and learn about San Diego. After a stop Pizza Port in Bressi Ranch of course. Had to fuel up with pizza and beer.

The conference was already started with beers already flowing. Many Ballast Point beers were available like Grapefruit Sculpin and the latest Homework Series beer, a rye hop bomb. Also Belching Beaver and New English ( which was new to me) bottles were being passed around.

We had barely sat down and hadn’t even seen our room when cool event # 1 started. Hop Vaping with Lagunitas. I probably didn’t do it right but it was still cool. Amarillo hops piped into a bag then pushed into your waiting nasal passages. I went back again later that night and just soaked in the aroma from the “Vaping” table.

Cool event # 2 was hearing the true San Diego craft beer history with the titans of SD brewing. Peter Zien from AleSmith, Tomme Arthur from Port and Lost Abbey and Chuck Silva of Green Flash. This panel could have gone on for hours. The blog marketing info presented afterwards was good but really paled in comparison. A poor time slot can make or break a presentation. The beer history was so informative that I will post separately when I talk about the documentary, Suds, County.

A trip to the Karl Strauss tasting room was anti-climactic as well. Solid beers and a lovely landscaped and decorated space but safe, not adventurous.

That adventure came at the Lagunitas nightcap. Aged Olde Gnarleywine from ’09 and ’11. Sucks on tap. And the standout for the night was Mandaraison. Pepper and fruit swirled with Belgian influences. Fantastic. Plus news of their new fresh hop Born a Yesterday Pale.


More to come later…..

“America’s Beer Renaissance: Consumer Choice and Variety in the U.S. Beer Market.”


It must have been an easier job thirty years ago.  The craft beer retailer had so few choices to put on shelves and sell.  A few ESB’s from England, a bock or two from Germany and maybe something really unique from Belgium.  Now to be competitive you had better have at least one display (if not more) like the one above.  Because the craft beer consumer fueled by growing sophistication and trained to ask for better beers are now the driving force in beer.  And that is not just craft beer, but all of beer.

Growing up in Oregon, a state now known far and wide for choice was a different world from where I am now in Los Angeles.  My Trader Joe’s across the street carries Hangar 24, The Bruery and Firestone Walker alongside Full Sail and their in-house brands.  Even the major grocery chain, Ralphs carries the cans of Los Angeles brewed Golden Road for quick carry out.  Back in the day, you could pledge allegiance to Henry Weinhard or Olympia or just by some cheap stubbies from Buckhorn.  Beer shopping sure must have been easier than it is now where I have to make hard decisions about how much I can buy and how much will fit in my ‘fridge or cellar. It must seem to store clerks that I am the most indecisive shopper in the world.

So I have to give a tip of the hat to the hard working behind the scenes people who deal in SKU’s.  Heck, I didn’t even know about SKU’s before or what the acronym stands for and now I read about them in beer blogs instead of beer reviews!

Not to suck up but  there must be people working overtime at every stop of a beer’s journey from brewery to retailer.  Born on dates stamped on bottles.  New labels being approved and affixed in a rush.  Data and prices keyed into computers.  Barcodes scanned and inventory tallied. Delivery trucks rumbling down roads near and far.

All in the name of a bustling and growing craft beer market.  All so that I could check out with ease and take my craft beer bounty home to drink and enjoy.  Granted we are probably still trying to catch up from all the stagnation of previous years but the incredible leaps in variety is hard to keep up with.  Each visit to my favorite beer shoppes brings new discoveries.  Seasonals galore.  New breweries entering the market. A seemingly endless stream of new hops and IPA’s.  More beers than I could possibly choose from.  And that is a very good thing.



*a writing assignment (with prizes attached) from the 2014 Beer Bloggers conference in San Diego and the National Beer Wholesalers Association

Beer Bloggers Conference – The Photos

Get comfortable. I tried to edit but there are still loads of photos to see…So let’s get started….

First you have to check in!

Then settle in to listen to John Foyston from the Oregonian talk to Fred

Here come the hops to be stripped from the main plant.

Hops high over head in flight

The hops heading fast into the drying area.

Yours truly with a fistful of lupulin.

Jamie Floyd from Ninkasi on the hop farm bus!

The night of Many Bottles

1993? Are you kidding me?

A sneak peak at Christmas

Lunch and Apple Pie at Cascade Barrel house

A quick run to Hair of the Dog

What I brought home to LA - Part 1

What I brought home to LA - Part 2

Beer Bloggers Conference – Wrap Up

It has now been a few days since I got back from Portland and the Beer Bloggers conference. I lingered for an extra day and a half to sample some more beer. As if I hadn’t in the previous three days!

I got to make my premiere visit to Burnside Brewing and try the Sweet Heat Apricot/Scotch Bonnet pepper beer. Snuck in a couple small sized beers at Bailey’s Taproom as well as Hooligan Brown from Laurelwood at the airport.

But now onto the better worded version of events last weekend. The initial day was probably the best. Fred Eckhardt is great. I can only hope A) to be his age and B) still be excited about craft beer and ready to re-tell stories that he has probably memorized by now. Then to follow that with a trip to an actual hop farm that was in the process of harvesting was great. Walking off the bus to that aroma was amazing. Brewery tours have their own special magic but this was double that. Watching the hops roast. Grabbing a few and smelling the aromas. I wanted to take a bucket full home or one of the big 200 pound bales.

The Night of Many Bottles was fun and not as frenzied as last year when I was trying to knock out some of the 50 States that I needed for last year’s challenge. I paced myself better and stopped earlier so the next day wasn’t a blur. Highlights included, the 1994 Rogue Old Crustacean barley wine, Double Mountain Dark Blood Kriek and Hedgreow Bitter from Pretty Things Ales.

Days 2 and 3 went by so fast. The content was fun with plenty of golden nuggets of information that I will hopefully put to use. The Speed Beer Dating featured my new favorite beer, Gin aged Double Wit from Breakside Brewery. Then close upon the heels of that revelation came the debut of the 2011 Jubel from Deschutes. The Bridgeport dinner was excellent even though the beers are not to my taste. I keep trying them but they just do not wow me.

The speakers this year were much more about engaging outside of your computer. Though I could appreciate some of the tech talk from last year, a representative from Raise Your Pints talking about beer laws and how he and his organization are changing them is so much more interesting to me.

The two down points for me were the movie, The Love of Beer which just didn’t flow for me and seemed to veer off course as to why women are important to craft beer. I loved see the women featured and there were some great scenes but I would have liked to seen a more grain to glass approach where women at all stages of the process would talk about what they personally bring to the job.

Secondly, I had hoped to see a bigger turnout considering what a great beer town Portland is. How does a blogger pass that up? This is a bargain conference. And I certainly got my money’s worth. But I wish more people will hop on the bandwagon next year. Seriously, if you are a blogger that didn’t go. Talk to me and tell me why.

The photos are coming soon!

Beer Bloggers Conference – Day Three

Drinking Flying Fish Exit 4 and listening to Brewvana talk about his view on what beer blogging should be and how he got craft beer on mutiple media outlets.

Before that 8 different “co-workers” gave presentations on what they know about. I have had a lot of great craft beer but I have learned more.

Check out the Facebook posts and Twitter streams to see the minute by minute breakdown. Type in Beer Bloggers Conference and start reading. More detailed cogent posts to follow when I have processed it all.

And a bazillion photos too.