Getting Set for 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference

Indianapolis in July.  How many of you marked that destination for your summer vacation? 

Unless you’re familiar with Indianapolis (and I’m not), it may not seem like a sexy destination for beer.  Okay, who am I kidding. It still isn’t a sexy destination for beer like, say, San Diego or Portland.  But the more I learn, the more interested I am to check it out. Along with Sun King Brewing Co., the top medal winner at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, the Indianapolis area is home to a growing collection of quality breweries like Upland Brewing and Flat12 Bierwerks.

That’s a good thing since I’m headed there July 13-15 for the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference.  Actually, I’m flying first to Chicago on July 12 for a pre-conference dinner at Goose Island and pub crawl (hopefully to include Revolution Brewing and Haymarket Brewing). Following that, we’ll get on a bus for the 3 hour drive to Indianapolis with a stop along the way for lunch and beer tasting at Lafayette Brewing.  Jealous yet?  We haven’t even arrived at the conference. 

The conference kicks off that Friday afternoon with a craft beer industry update from the super informative Julia Herz of the Brewers Association followed by a keynote address from Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery and editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer.

The guy’s won a lot of medals and has a ton of beer knowledge, but I’m curious whether he’s got the ability to relate to us “average joes” of the beer world. After all, he famously trashed growlers in a rant published in Bon Appetit Magazine, simultaneously making good points (which we already knew) while coming across in a “you couldn’t possibly understand” kind of way.

Over the next two days, there’s sessions on the three tier system, networking with folks in the industry, live beer blogging and a couple hours at the Indiana Beer Festival. Spiegelau is hosting a beer tasting with a selection of their glassware.  I’m particularly interested in that experience since I’m one to think the style of glass generally doesn’t matter much.  The full schedule is here.

I’m stoked. I’ll admit I struggled with the decision to go last year. Why? I’m just a guy who writes about beer on the side. I’ve got a full time job.  Heck, some of the guys I drink beer with know far more about it than I do.  What business did I have spending bucks to go to a conference about beer?

Plenty, it turns out. The vast majority of “citizen beer bloggers” who attended were just like me.  People with full time jobs to go along with a full time love of craft beer.  Sure, you know a lot of people who fit that description, but we all shared one more common interest – a desire to communicate it.

And really, that’s what the conference is all about – communicating craft beer. Stay tuned for pictures, updates and news from all the fun, July 12-15.