Beer Bloggers Conference Day1 - Part 1

I did not watch the Royal wedding, nor any of the Queens visit to Ireland but a lot of Irish people did. Fascinated by the pomp and ceremony, they watched the worlds most privileged people do whatever it was they were doing (I did not see it remember). Kate and William got married and that's about as much as I know.

You see, In Ireland we do not have a privileged class like that. You might say the Politicians but could you really suggest that with a serious face? In Ireland you are likely to meet Government Ministers down the pub telling grossly exaggerated stories after a few pints... pretty much just like at a Government meeting then.

The point is simply this. I had no point of reference for what it would be like to be surrounded by people trying to get your attention, almost fawning over you to win favour. I had no idea what it would be like to be treated like Royalty.

That all changed on Friday the 20th of May 2011 when I became King for the weekend at the Beer Bloggers Conference. The very first of it's kind held in Europe in fact.

From the moment I walked in the door for registration, I was treated like the most important person in the world. In fact before the door because I was greeted by a door man in tails and a top hat who directed me to the correct room. Welcome to The Brewery, a former brewery (whitbread) and now an amazing conference & event centre with some brilliant technology throughout.

Once inside I got my badge and saw the order of business was as follows. Tables full of beer for us to sample. Each table had a brewery represented and someone to talk to. I had some great conversations with most of the representatives, some of which were the brewers themselves. I was given gifts of bottles of beer (Adnams), a gift set with a bottle of beer and a glass in a wooden box (Badger), T-Shirts (Shepherd Neame) and most importantly, the gift of talking directly to people in the industry I love so much.

First thing was first though. Straight to the Sharps table for an Atlantic IPA to quench my thirst.

There was also a light lunch which was very welcome as I had not eaten in 12 hours.

This in itself was a fantastic hour or so and left me wondering what was in store for me next?
The reality far exceeded any expectations I could muster up in my musings.


After registration we headed upstairs for the conference talks. They were brilliant and for the most part riveting.
Scott Wilson from MolsonCoors welcomed us and had plenty to say during questions and answers for each other speaker for the rest of the day. He did his company proud when he talked about the beer community in general and that even though MolsonCoors are a brewing giant, they see us Beer Bloggers as flying the flag for beer in general. MolsonCoors and indeed big brewers in general "are not the Anti-Craft" said Scott and it is certainly true in the case of MolsonCoors who have bought up smaller breweries but instead of closing them down, have kept them on and supported them. Sharps and Worthington are prime examples and both were in attendance.

In particular was the three bloggers pictured above. They are true professionals of the trade. Pete Brown, Melissa Cole & Mark Fletcher. This particular talk was useful for me as it was about the technical aspects of beer blogging such as the Do's and Don’ts of Beer Blogging. It was quite enlightening and I was glad when Melissa said that you should never write a blog post that you have been paid to write. It is a betrayal to your readers as well as yourself. I have in the past been offered money on a few occasions and turned it down.

Afterwards we went downstairs to learn about off flavours in beer. The course was organised by FlavorActiV. We had 6 beers that had been artificially given off flavours so we can learn to taste and smell something that is often considered off. In this case a lager and the control was a can of Carling.

Many of the off flavours I would recognise, especially paper/cardboard caused by oxidation because I would be familiar with it from cheap homebrew kits I have tasted. I don't recall any of my batches being oxidised but at tastings I have come across it.

It was interesting when it came to Skunked and how as we all know, clear and green glass does not block harmful light and often get skunked. I immediately thought of Shepherd Neame and sure enough, one of the Shepherd Neame guys (might have been the brewer I met upstairs) defended their use of clear glass. Of course it is a marketing decision. They used to use brown but as soon as they switched to clear glass, their sales increased significantly. They admitted that whitstable bay is certainly skunked, but it is part of the flavour profile now so it is how people expect it to taste. The other beers he claimed are too strong to see any significant skunking.

Interestingly, while they did not mention it during the event, I see on their website that they sell kits to recreate the experiment at home. Could be good fun when you have a night with little else to do. It would be interesting to try it on different beer styles as well. Can you skunk a stout?



Later on we had a sort of pre-dinner reception party with a couple of beers available. It was really a time to get to know some of the other attendees.


There were only two beers available from the bar, which is a real shame as there were many other fine beer brands owned by MolsonCoors I would have enjoyed. This was technically the aperitif for dinner so Monsieur Rock & Worthington White Shield were what we had.
Actually it was my first White Shield, a beer that brings a tear to the eye of many beer drinkers and I have to say, I was not all that impressed with it. In fact I much preferred the Red Shield I had at the start of the day. That said, I was not in note taking mode and I had had a Monsieur Rock before so maybe it interfered with my tasting. I want to give White Shield another go some time.



I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Hardknott Sooty got a little drunk and ruined the night for everyone squeaking abuse that I could not in good conscience repeat. *


The meal was provided by MolsonCoors and each course came with two suggested beers to try with it. My kind of dinner to be honest.
During dinner, Steve Wellington, head brewer at White Shield and brewing God in the UK announced his retirement. Needless to say he got a standing ovation. I think I saw some teary eyed beer writers around the room.

After dinner was the Pilsner Urquell party and a lot of us were looking forward to it because we were about to try something very special..... More to come in Part 2 as I felt this needed it's own blog post.



* Utter bollox of course, Sooty was wonderful company and a perfect gentlepuppet.

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ale,1,Proclamation Porter,1,proper job,1,pure gold,1,pure ubu,1,purgatory,1,purity,1,purity brewing company,1,quaff,1,queboid,1,racer 5,1,rader,1,radical brew,1,radikale,1,Raftman,1,Raison D'être,1,rakau,1,random everything ipa,1,random summer sunshine,1,random waffle,1,rant,3,rascal's,1,ratebeer,1,Rauchbier,1,raven,1,Raven Vintage Stout,1,razzamataz,1,rch brewery,1,re-brew,1,rebrew,1,recession dinner,1,recipe,1,recycle,1,red ale,1,red eye flight,1,red frog ale,1,red horse,1,red shield,1,redoak,1,revelation cat,1,revolution,1,Reykjavik,1,rhetoric,1,ridgeway,1,Rince Cochon,1,rip tide,1,riptide,1,rising sons,1,road dog,1,roadtrip,1,rochefort,1,Rochefort 10,2,Rodenbach,1,rogue beer,1,róisin,1,rome,1,rooie dop,1,rook and vuur,1,root canal,1,Rosé de Gambrinus,1,rosey nosey,1,round-up,2,roundup,2,ruddles,1,rugby,4,Russian imperial,1,russian river,1,rye river,2,saint bidgets porter,1,saint paul,1,Saint Petersburg,1,saison,2,saison 1900,1,Salthill,1,sam adams,1,Samichlaus,1,samual adams,2,samuel adams,1,samurai rice ale,1,san diego,1,san francisco,2,san sebastian,1,sanda black,1,Santa’s Little Helper,1,saranac,2,sassy red,1,satanic mills,1,saugatuck,2,sawtooth ale,1,scaldy porter,1,Schlapppeseppel,1,Schneider Weisse,3,Schneider Weisse Tap 4,1,scotland,1,second chance,1,Seeing red,4,Seeing red v2,2,seo,1,septemberfest,1,shady pale,1,shandon century stout,2,sharp's,3,sharps,1,shave or dye,1,sheepshagger,1,shephard neame,2,shepherd neame,2,sheridans,1,shipyard,1,shpherd neame,1,Sierra Nevada,9,Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale,2,Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale,2,signal,1,Sigtina,1,singapore ipa. esb amber,1,Single Brew Reserve,1,sink the bismark,1,sixex,1,ska brewing,1,skyrim,1,slaters,1,sloop brewing,1,smithwicks,3,smoke jumper,1,smoked baltic porter,1,smoked porter,1,smooth ryed,1,smuggler,1,snake dog,1,sneck lifter,1,snow eater,1,Sorachi ace,1,Sorachi Ale,1,Sotholmon,1,sour beer,1,South Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spindrift,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe hendrick,1,Streaky,1,stumptown tart,1,sublimely self righteous ale,1,Sullivan's,1,summer,1,Summer IPA,1,summer lightning,1,summerwine,1,sunburnt Irish red,1,suntory,1,supervalu,1,sur amarillo,1,surrender to the void,1,survey,1,sushi,2,sweden,1,Swedish beer,1,sweetwater,1,sweetwater brewery,1,sydney,6,Syvturys,1,t-shirts,1,T' Pakhuis,1,tactical nuclear penguin,1,tally-ho,1,tangle foot,1,Tankovna,1,Tap X,1,tapster,1,taste test,2,tasting,1,tasting session,1,tawny 05,1,tayberry,1,tea,1,teeling,1,tempest,1,temple bar chocolate festival,1,terrible beer,3,tesco,1,thanks to the big boys,2,the banshee,1,the beast,1,the beer moment,1,The Big Lunch Beer Challenge,1,the black sheep,1,The Brewrey Tap,1,the end of history,1,the fearless,1,the force,1,The Golden Pints Beer Awards 2010,1,The Great divide,3,the haka,1,The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,1,The Late Night Levy,1,The little Brewing Company,1,the lord nelson,1,The Matt Brewing Company,1,the old stand,1,the oslo,4,the perfect publican,1,the rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,39,the white hag,1,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,30,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,3,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,vrienden,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,1,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,2,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter spirit,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: Beer Bloggers Conference Day1 - Part 1
Beer Bloggers Conference Day1 - Part 1
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The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2011/05/beer-bloggers-conference-day1-part-1.html
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