Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Craft Brewers Conference 2014 Recap

Nick and I returned from Denver last weekend after nearly a week in Denver experiencing all that Denver and most importantly the Craft Brewers Conference has to offer.  This was the first trip to this conference for both of us and it did not disappoint.

The conference attracted more than 7000 people from all over the country and the world.  The global aspect of this conference truly surprised and impressed me.  It was fantastic hearing and seeing the different cultures from all over interact all over town and talk about craft beer and how to make it better for everyone and give more and more people access to it.

We arrived in Denver Wednesday morning and attended our first session on how to finance a brewery, from crowd funding to the traditional sorts, the place was packed as expected, with nearly 2000 new breweries in planning or opening in the next couple years.  It was a good session and a good way to kick it off for us.

Lincoln Brewhouse manufacture A.B.E.

We then headed upstairs to grab some lunch and in order to do that we had to go through the BrewExpo.  Talk about a kid in a candy store, the amount of cool big and shiny stainless things was hard to avoid and leave but we had another session to attend before we spent more time on the BrewExpo floor.

Once we were done with our second session we couldn't wait to get back to the BrewExpo floor and see what all is out there in the brew world to spend ungodly amounts of money on.  I think this was my favorite part, looking at the new stuff that breweries have at their fingertips.  Full brewhouses, canning lines and bottling lines littered the aisles as well as many other booths.

The other cool part was we ran into a number of people and brewers from Nebraska, the state was well represented at the conference.  I would say that the people made the conference for me, wherever we went we ran into great people.

Wednesday night we made our way to a Dogfish Head party at the Ogden Theater.  They had some great bands playing and free Dogfish Head beer on tap.  We hung out with Jeremy Kirby, former head brewer at Gottberg and current head brewer at Sunken City.  If you know Jeremy you know that was a good time. We even managed to run into a Zipline Brewer enjoying the festivities right in front of us.

Thursday was more of the same with sessions and expo visits during the day and a party at The Fillmore sponsored by Left Hand and Lagunitas.  We once again ran into Jeremy and his wife but also had the pleasure of catching up with Brian from The Roaming Pint.  I think Brian may have been stalking us because we ran into him everywhere.  It was a pleasure getting to know Brian better and can't wait to hang out with him again.

Brian from The Roaming Pint

Friday was a few breweries and a couple sessions and then came the World Beer Cup Gala and Awards Ceremony.  This is billed as the one place you may see a brewer in a tie on purpose.  We have been to the GABF award ceremony a few times and it is pretty cool to see, but getting to see all these international brewers there and winning awards was fun.  It was cool seeing an American brewery win Bronze in German Style Pilsner and really cool seeing a Japanese brewery win Silver in American Style Amber.  It shows that American craft beer has made the leap across the ponds and being brewed with quality and vice versa.  Our favorites were a couple brewers from Brazil that won in the picture above.  These guys were so excited you would have thought Brazil just won the World Cup.  They won Gold with a Belgian Style Dubbel and Silver with a Quad, think about that, pretty cool!

I had such a great time that I look forward to hopefully making it to Portland next year.  If you are a brewer or brewery I would say this is a can't miss deal, if for no other reason than the connections you can make with vendors and other brewers.  There was great times had and a ton of learning as well.

Cheers Brewers Association, well done!!

1 comment:

Brian Devine said...

What an event! Was great hanging out with you guys as well.

With 7,000+ who devote their lives to beer you know you are going to have some great conversations.