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Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina along with over 150 registered beer writers, sponsors, and enthusiasts.
Four days and many tweets later, the online chatter is still ongoing with wrap-ups from writers around the country. It's worth a look if you've ever wondered what it looks like when a bunch of people with a mission for beer and beer writing descend on a city smartphones in hand (#beerslaughter).
Some highlights of the trip for me were several delicious visits to Burial and Wicked Weed, a tour and dinner celebration at Sierra Nevada lead by none other than Ken and Brian Grossman (talk about legacy), and getting to hear from keynote speaker Kim Jordan, CEO and Co-founder of New Belgium.
I also volunteered to speak on a panel (more of that to follow).
As anyone who lives in the digital age likely knows by now, the potential soul-crushing power of the internet is theoretically quantifiable by multiplying your current level of fear and anxiety (times) the number of internet connections in the hands of your audience. So by the time day two of the conference rolled around, the back-channel twittershit-talking, humorous as it may have been, had me more nervous than--the nervous person I usually pretend not to be (I'm so good with words: #howdidigetthisjob).
If I sucked, I'd certainly find out
Anyway, I took the honesty is the best policy approach and admitted I'd be using the podium as a security blanket before slipping into a dissociative state and watching myself crack jokes and admitting to weakness before this army of social-media-savvy gunslingers. And I survived!
Fortunately, we'd all started drinking well before noon (it's a beer conference in a very literal sense, people) so I also had a little liquid courage in my arsenal by the time 2pm rolled around.
Moderating the panel was Alan McCormick of Growler Fills, who lead Bryan D. Roth, Oliver Gray, and myself in a presentation entitled "Beyond the Beer Review." Last year I placed third overall in the NAGBW competition for beer blogging, and ended up being invited to speak with this very prolific, and established, group of writers. Big thanks to Alan for helping it all come together so well, and for compiling our slides into a cohesive whole.
Until I can get a more detailed rendition of my notes pulled together (and some audio to go with #staytuned) here's some slides that may or may not make sense without accompanying text/explanation. Whee!
(Session description below)
I have a series of follow-up posts scheduled for you in the coming week(s) but until then, I'm going to dive right back into real life and start running like mad to catch up to all the other beer obligations I have in my life--like working for these lovely people.