European Beer Bloggers Conference 2013 - Highlights #EBBC13


The 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference was a more intimate affair than previous years. The absence of Molson Coors was felt, especially with the lack of stipends to help bloggers get to Edinburgh. I hope the break is temporary and they are back with us next year.

This didn't stop over 70 bloggers from showing up however, nor did it prevent Zephyr Adventures from hosting a wonderful conference in a beautiful venue. Some of Scotland's finest micro breweries joined together to help turn it in to a truly wonderful conference. 


Ghillie Dhu
For a start, the location was just amazing. The Ghillie Dhu almost looks out of place. It's a former Episcopal church and is truly astounding inside. Wi-Fi was fast unlike in Leeds last year where it was often unusable.
The location was also excellent as it was overlooked by Edinburgh castle, near to public transport and also to some of Edinburgh's best bars.

Garrett Oliver
Garrett Oliver from the Brooklyn Brewery gave the keynote speech and while there was some uncertainty as to whether he was in fact making fun of bloggers or not, it turned out to make a lot of sense. In essence, what I took away from it was that if I'm describing a beer, be it on my blog or just to another person. Don't hit them with data that means nothing to them. Don't tell them the IBU or if it's dry hopped or any crap like that. Leave that for beer geeks who understand it. We need to make the beer sound delicious to our wider audience.
He also forced us to watch a video below. It was very funny and we were quoting it all night. My favourite part is "Is this contract brewed? I can smell the contract". The thing to take away from it was not to be those guys which is harder than you might think sometimes.



Brooklyn - Sorachi Ace
Of course, no talk from a brewmaster would be complete without some beer and Garret kindly brought along some Sorachi Ace. This is a Saison that has hopped with Sorachi Ace, the best name for a hop in the world. How does it taste? Well as Garrett would have me say, it tastes delicious. Of course how do I describe it without being one of those guys in the video above? Think dill and zesty lemon peel and you might begin to imagine it but it's easier to just drink it. The carbonation is that of champagne and that's no accident because it is re-fermented with champagne yeast. Be careful when opening, the pressure is explosive and the cork will fly out. If you aim it at someone, you could really take an eye out. Don't point it at anything breakable either. As summer beers go, it's a tough one to beat.

John Martin - History of Scottish Brewing
 Later, John Martin got up to give a talk on this history of brewing in Scotland. If it was a more sober affair, it was simply that following a character like Garret Oliver, you will always come across as a little on the dull side. However the talk was far from dull and I really enjoyed it. I thought the Tennents ads from the 60s, 70s and 80s was intriguing. I had never seen them before.

Weird Beard - Nelson Saison
I had many beers over the weekend from Weird Beard,* though I just couldn't take notes for all the beer I was drinking in pubs/bars. I was there to enjoy myself, not be a beer geek.
The Nelson Saison was a fantastic beer. As expected, it was very fizzy. A little cheese funk on the nose but plenty of grapefruit, lemon sherbet and tropical fruits. A peppery and sour finish with a little astringency. This is an astonishingly good beer and will pair very well with many kinds of food but they will need to be fairly rich so the saison does no dominate. Rich spicy food like haggis, considering we were in Scotland. I would say creamy cheeses too. I'm not particularly adept at food and beer pairing so experiment yourself.

Václav Berka - Pilsner Urquell

No Beer Bloggers Conference would be complete without the "Thirsty Brewer", Mr Václav Berka himself. As usual, Pilsner Urquell bring us to another location for a dinner and Mr Berka brings wooden casks of Pilsen's finest. The unfiltered, unpasteurised, Pilsner Urquell in it's truest form. Unfortunately the condition of the beer did not work out to be as good as usual. This was down to the oppressive heat I reckon. It was still a lovely beer of course, just not quite as brilliant as usual. Hopefully next year, the weather will not be quite so hot. Let's hope for warm and dry but not oppressively hot.

Garrett Oliver Pours a glass of Pilsner Urquell
Being so warm, Garrett Oliver went up to pour some regular kegged Pilsner Urquell which was unaffected by the heat and a Pilsner Urquell rep made sure he poured it correctly, getting that huge foamy head and liquid gold perfection beneath.

Sophie Atherton - Beer Sommelier of The Year
Sophie Atherton, one of the best known beer bloggers in the UK had recently won Beer Sommelier of the year. Not just that, she is also the first woman to become a Beer Sommelier in the UK, even if it was only by a few hours. Everyone remembers Neil Armstrong for one thing. 
Sophie gave a talk on becoming a Beer Sommelier and encouraged more to do so.

Beer and Food Pairing with Sophie
Of course, Sophie being the lovely person that she is, fed and watered us by doing a little beer and food matching. Rather than tell us what to match, she simply gave us a number of beers and a plate of cheeses and meats. The cheese was all blue, something she wasn't expecting. Unfortunately she was at the mercy of the venue with regards to what they had. I recall something similar happening in London at the first conference in 2011. While the cheese variety was a little lacking, the meats were much better.
Personally, I thought that Badger's The Roaming Roy Dog went very well with the salami on the far right. Everyone of course had different opinions of course and that made it really fun.

Another highlight was the dinner hosted by the wonderful Williams Brothers and Fyne Ales breweries. Two of my favourite Scottish breweries. There was some friendly competition in that each course was delivered with a beer from each brewery to try and pair with the food. I didn't keep score but I think Fyne Ales got better pairing results with the food, but Williiams had some more impressive beer flavours, especially their Stavaigin Croft Saison. Most people left after the dinner as they were opening up the hall to the general public. Two kegged beers were emptied in to pitchers. The saison and Joker IPA. To make sure that none of the Kegged Williams brothers beers went to waste, Robert Gale (beerlens), Richard Newbury (Intoxicated Rich) and myself stayed behind to polish it off. Eventually it got too loud with obnoxious people so we took our beer downstairs before retiring for the night.

I haven't covered the whole conference from start to finish, plenty of other attendees did that. I encourage people to search for the twitter hashtag #EBBC13 to see other posts.
For instance, I was on stage for a little over an hour hosting a panel of international bloggers from Poland, Norway, USA and of course I represented Ireland. Since I was on stage, I have no pictures of this segment but feedback was positive so I guess it was a good segment. 
The only slight problem was that one panellist, Espeth from the USA had a presentation comparing Europe to the USA. Unfortunately, while her US data was correct, her European data was way off. She compared a Europe with 1000 breweries to the USA with 2500 breweries. The problem is, the UK alone has over 1000 breweries, Germany has over 1300, Ireland has 30 with more on the way. OK Ireland doesn't make much of a dent. In fact, there are about 4800 breweries in Europe, nearly twice the number of the USA. That said, Europe has more than twice the population of the USA, about 790 million versus 313 million in the USA. Even if we only take EU member countries, It's about 508 million to 313 million in the USA.
I think everyone in the audience understood her mistake, she must have just meant the UK. Otherwise, it was a very interesting and informative, not to mention well put together presentation from Elspeth.

I would like to first thank our Grand sponsors, Pilsner Urquell, Williams Brothers and Fyne Ales, without which, the event could not have taken place at all. 
I would also like to thank the sponsors below who helped make the even as brilliant as it was.


Premier Sponsors
Stewart Brewing (special nod for an excellent brewery party)
Yelp
Birra Toccalmatto
Badger Ales (special nod for ale fudge and pork pies)
Harviestoun
Coopers DIY Beer
Shepherd Neame (special nod for bringing Utopias)
Wordpress
Let There Be Beer

Event Sponsor
Beer Academy

I have one more thing to say. The end of the conference involved Cindy hinting that the conference was in danger. The main thing is that it needs to leave the UK and go to another European destination. Well, challenge accepted because I'm doing my best to get it to Dublin. All I can say is that I'm using my contacts in Ireland to see if it's possible. Initial responses are promising so it's possible that next year will see Dublin as the host city. Alternatives are always on the cards though so I have my fingers crossed. I hope that if it does, that most of our usual sponsors will follow, after all, most of their products are available in Ireland.


* In fact, my first beer in Scotland was Five O'Clock shadow, a 7% American IPA that cost me £6 for a pint in the Stockbridge Tap.

COMMENTS

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belgium,2,new holland,1,new zealand,2,Newmans,1,newton,1,night beacon,1,night of many beers,1,Noblesse,1,Nøgne Ø,1,Nøgne Ø nogne o,1,Northmaen,2,nutfest,1,O' Hara's,1,O' Neil's,1,o'byrnes,1,O'Fallon,1,O'Hara's IPA,1,O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale,1,O'Haras,6,oak aged,1,oberdorfer. hopf,1,oberon,2,obyrnes,1,odd side ales,1,odell,3,Odells,3,Oerbier Special Reserva,1,of foam and fury,1,Oktoberfest,1,ola dubh,1,old foghorn,1,old nucklehead,1,Old Peculier,1,old scratch,1,old speckled hen,2,old tom strong ale,1,Old Winter Ale,1,olde peninsula,1,Oppigards,1,Optimo Bruno,1,opus II,2,ór,2,origin,1,Orney Amber,1,orval,1,oscar blues,1,oskar blues,1,otley,1,oxymoron,1,Oyster stout,2,p2,2,pacific blond,1,paddy's brewery,1,paddyfest,1,paella,1,Page 24,1,Pagoa,1,Palo Santo Marron,1,pancake Tuesday,1,panhead,1,Pannepot reserva,1,paradox,1,paris,3,past master,1,past masters,1,pbr,1,peak xv,1,pensacola,1,perception,1,Perle La Mondiale 2011,1,petaluma,1,Philippines,1,phoenix park,1,phuca,1,pick axe,1,piece,1,pier cove porter,1,pilsner,1,pilsner urquell,6,pink killer,1,pints pub,1,pipers gold,1,pisa,1,pliny the elder,2,poachers choice,1,pochs,1,Poechenellekelder,1,politics,3,pond hopper,1,port brewing,1,Port McQuarie,1,porter,1,porterhouse,10,portrush,1,Pot Belly,1,prague,1,preview,1,primator dark,1,prize old 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,reality bytes,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,5,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,10,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,Spitting Llama,1,Squealing Pig,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,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,40,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,tuatara,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,Waiheke Island,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,Wellington,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: European Beer Bloggers Conference 2013 - Highlights #EBBC13
European Beer Bloggers Conference 2013 - Highlights #EBBC13
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The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2013/07/european-beer-bloggers-conference-2013.html
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