To Beervana and back: Rise of the Blogger

2011 Beer Bloggers Conference

Yoda: “Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless…”

With a fair amount of Portland’s breweries, bars and brew-pubs under our ever tightening belts, Sean @2beerguys, Ryan @thirstynobeard, Brian @seacoastbevlabs and @aljpeace, were primed for The Bloggers Conference.

We were serious and committed (to learn AND drink some beer) but we also got adventure, excitement and a bit of recklessness…quite the perfect balance.

Beer Bloggers Conference 2011 agenda

Thursday, August 18, 2011
5:25PM Portland Pub Crawl, organised by, Portland Beer Bloggers

Fred Eckhardt and John Foyston

Friday, August 19, 2011
12:00 noon Registration & Meet the Sponsors
1:30 PM Welcome
1:40 PM Introduction by Julia Herz from the Brewers Association /
2:10 PM Keynote speech by Fred Eckhardt and John Foyston
3:00 PM How to Brew on Your Own Stovetop (While Blogging on Your Laptop)
4:00 PM Depart for the hop fields for tour and dinner courtesy of the Oregon Brewers Guild
7:30 PM Bus returns to Doubletree Portland hotel
8:30 PM Night of Many Bottles

How to Brew on Your Own Stovetop - Stephen Valand and Erica Shea

Saturday, August 20, 2011
9:30 AM Panel: Learning from Industry Beer Bloggers
10:30 AM Panel: Working With Your Local Brewery
11:30 AM Lunch on your own at local restaurants and pubs
1:30 PM Panel: Lessons from Portland as a Beer (and Beer Blogging)City
2:30 PM Blogging About (and Changing) Beer Laws
3:20 PM The Beer Steward Program from the Master Brewers Assoc. of the Americas
4:00 PM Live Beer Blogging
6:00 PM Depart on buses for dinner at BridgePort Brewery
8:30 PM Evening Party – The Love of Beer

Michael Busman, Ryan Ross, and Matt Van Wyk

Sunday, August 21, 2011
9:30 AM Blogger Presentations: 8 Presentations by 8 Bloggers on 8 Subjects
11:00 AM Keynote speech by blogger Jay Wilson on “Standing Out from the Crowd”
11:45 AM Wrap-up
12:00 noon Conference finish

Sean from

Noon on Friday after the Pub crawl, saw us outside the conference room at the Portland Doubletree, meeting and greeting our sponsors for the weekend. What does that exactly mean? Well, you start with a “hello”, add a handshake and follow it up with a healthy pour of their latest beer. What better way to begin a beer bloggers conference right?!

Walking into the conference room, I felt a like a reckless young Jedi on my first adventure…surrounded by some pretty hardcore bloggers, writers, and plenty of brewers and brewery reps that had been in the industry for years.  I did my best to absorb as much as possible from these masters of the craft.  Julia Herz from the Brewers Association /, did a fantastic job of opening the festivities.

Here are a few things we learned from our Bloggers Conference Jedi-Masters:

  1. Do have a funny bone… many speakers taught us that as perfect as we may strive to be, we need to have “too much fun”.
  2. It’s never too late to force your keyboarding fingers to try home brewing!
  3. Always know where your ingredients hail from. Seeing is believing, and might remind you why you chose your path to beerdom.
  4. Your path may be dotted with many bottles, but choose yours wisely…true beer enlightenment is achieved through proper selection.
  5. If the force is strong with you,  make a difference you can.  Laws you may even change.
  6. For the love of beer, your name could be in lights and make it on the big screen….
  7. On beer alone man cannot live. Or can he?

Darth Ninkasi

On Sunday, the conference had ended but our adventure hadn’t. It was Ryan’s 30th birthday and it must be done in style. Where better to celebrate than the ever stylish Laurelwood. After a fantastic flight and some great food, we kept the party going at Bailey’s Taproom for the Washington Brewers night.

Laurel Wood Brewery - Sampler

Arriving early meant we were some of the first to try the beer. As we sat with our fantastic brews from Elysian, Elliott Bay, Silver City, Odin Brewing, Sound Brewing, Big Al and Naked City (most of which are not distributed to Oregon), we were wowed as industry bloggers, brewers, and beer advocates of all sorts filtered in to share in a fresh brew. Sitting alongside this motley crew of beer lovers really solidified why I was there.  What a way to end our trip to Beervana…

Ryan, Sean and Brian at Bailey's Tap Room Jeff and  and Brian at Bailey's Tap Room Sean and the guys from Silver City Brewing at Bailey's Tap Room
Zach at Bailey's Tap Room Angelo from @Brewpublic at Bailey's Tap Room Chris at Bailey's Tap Room

On the way to the airport, squished in the car, (well not me I was in the front;) my thoughts were not of beer, but of all the people who welcomed us and treated us as close friends.  You know who you are. Many thanks to Alan and the whole Zypher Adventure’s crew. The buzz is already strong  for next years conference.  Many thanks to Bridgeport Brewery for the fantastic tour and dinner!

Tasty Beer

Let’s all work to get people to drink more good beer, so “if someone walks into your office and says he drinks Corona, DON’T immediately call him a dickhead.”  Micheal Jackson

Peace and Beer,

Amber and the guys (brewers) at Bailey's Tap Room

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