In case you missed it, our lucky social media team attended the Beer Blogger’s Conference in San Diego last weekend. The conference was filled with loads of sessions, ranging from photography techniques to beer blog writing etiquette. With the days loaded from 9:30am to 10pm, there was never a dull moment.
One of our favorite parts of day two (and the conference as a whole) was the “Live Beer Blogging.” Spanning over the course of roughly an hour, 10 breweries rotated from table to table pouring their brews (which was usually a seasonal, and at times not yet released). Allan Wright, founder of Zephyr Adventures and conference director, was partial to calling it “beer blogging speed dating;” quick, rapid-fire tastings where bloggers learn a lot of information in a small amount of time.
To avoid uploading the entirety of our notes (although it is tempting), we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite beer products from the conference:
Number Five: Pivo Hoppy Pils by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 5.3% abv
A Czech style beer that is the current reigning gold medalist at the Great American Beer Festival. This Pilsner has a crisp flavor and gold color. That, however, is where it leaves all other Pilsners behind. Clocking in at 40 IBU gives this pils a mildly bitter front and slightly spicy flavor. Finally, it has a lemongrass finish that’s both crisp and clean. It’s an incredibly diverse pilsner that leaves your palate wanting for more.
Number Four: Sonoma Farmhouse Sour by Lagunitas 6.8% abv
This tart, sweet, acidic, medium bodied sour was one of two sours shared at the tasting. The beer is blended with a barrel aged saison to balance out the tart flavor created by the sour. The Sonoma Farmhouse is a unique experience, and letting the beer change in temperature only enhanced and changed the beer further. It’s just plain fun.
Number Three: Marionberry Braggot by Rogue Farms 11.5% abv
A beer named after a berry (and not a mayor) and style of ale in which malt and honey are both used in the brewing process. The marionberry and honey give this beer a fruity flavor and a heavy body. Its robust, stone fruit flavors pair well with anything sweet and big, like cheesecake, cobbler or pie (you know, the healthy stuff). Beers in the Rogue Farms series are made with fresh ingredients from Rogue’s farm, including fresh hops and honey harvested from over a dozen hives. We don’t have quite that many hives on our farm, but it’s great to hear of other Oregon breweries with similar interests!
Number Two: Xocoveza Mocha Stout by Chris Banker, Stone and Insurgente 8.1% abv
The name isn’t the only thing complex about this stout. With flavors ranging from Mexican chocolate to cinnamon and mild peppers, this collaboration beer is far from you typical stout. The only thing that could make this beer better – a healthy portion of vanilla ice cream. Xocoveza will hit stores sometime in mid-September, so make sure to grab one to try for yourself!
Number One: Beer Bread Mix by Boardwalk Food Company 0.0% abv
Beer and bread. Together. Could there be a more perfect match? We’re huge fans of pairing food and beer so naturally this Beer Bread Mix was one of our favorites. Boasting four different flavors (Cornbread, Lemon Poppy, Rosemary Sea Salt, and Original), the mix only needs one ingredient: beer. Just add 12oz of your favorite beer, mix and bake. Want a zesty, spicy bread? Try Mt. Shasta Brewing Co.’s Jalapeno Lager into the cornbread. Something a little more savory? We’re told the Lemon Poppy Seed mixed with milk or chocolate stout will blow our socks off. The combinations seem limitless; a beautiful love child of both beer and food. Luckily, we’ll get to try more soon as they sent us home with our own mixes for personal chemistry experiments.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we tried! Samuel Adams had an out-of-this-world sour called Kosmic Mother Funk. Green Flash shared an incredibly refreshing Citra Session IPA, perfect for hot days and lawn mowing. Goose Island Beer Co. poured a collaboration beer, mixed with Intelligentsia Coffee Co.’s brew and aged in bourbon barrels. There was so much to try and taste! So stop by your local store, pick up one of these beers for yourself, and tell us what you think!