Post Craft Brewers Conference
Well, that was one hell of a week! It’s been about 5 days since I sat in on the last presentation at the Craft Brewers Conference. That presentation was all about water. Water pH, alkalinity and a bunch of other technical stuff that could leave the head spinning.
And while the sessions were amazing, it was the expo area that really impressed to no end. There was somewhere around 800 vendors in the expo area showcasing everything from ingredients you should use to brew to the floor you should brew on, if you could afford it. The expo was so large that it took me all three days to see everything and I’m still not sure that I actually did.
For kicks, I tracked my mileage and steps during the conference. If you believe Apple, I walked an average of 6.8 miles a day across the three days of the conference.
I’m something of a swag-whore, so it was especially difficult for me, personally. Even though I know I don’t need any more t-shirts, pens, koozies or post-it notes shaped like a beer stein, they are hard to resist. There were stress balls shaped like pilsner, shaker and german-boot glasses. There were bottle openers that were keychains, flashlights and credit card sized that fit into the wallet. There were sunglasses, patches and (for some reason) shoe insoles that weren’t soft enough to use. Lots of notebooks in different sizes and pens that had the little rubber part on the tip that allows them to be used on an ipad. Most of the malters offered samples of their grain to chew on, which was a good way to get nourishment. And most booths had some kind of candy to nibble on.
Oh, and there was beer. Not all booths had some, but many of the bigger booths had specialty made brews from their ingredients. Some featured specialty malts, or yeast, or the latest adjunct or flavor enhancer. But they were all happy to provide samples. And if that wasn’t enough, there were sampling stations on almost every aisle sponsored by one of the vendors in the aisle.
Perhaps the best swag I came home with was from Sew, a company who produces bottling lines and system automation. The very kind woman saw me coming down the aisle with the swag bag provided by the conference. In her hand was a huge 13 gallon over the shoulder empty bag. It was bright red with her company’s logo on the side. It had a separate pocket across the side and both ends were designed to hold pens and business cards. She offered me the bag and when I quickly said that I’d never purchase any of her company’s offering, she said “That’s OK, honey. We like the advertising.” And seeing how many people were walking around with these bags, I could understand her completely.
So what did I learn from the Craft Brewers Conference? A hell of a lot. Over the next few sessions I’ll go over a few things like:
Beer Flavor Trends
Creating the Perfect Draft System
Pouring the Perfect Pint and Techniques for Better Head Retention
and whatever else strikes me.