“Who are these guys really, the beer bloggers?” I thought to myself before coming to the annual beer bloggers & writers conference, this time taking place in Brussels. What better opportunity to go and see for myself when a hundred or so of this curious kind from across the world gathered in one place for a beer themed weekend in August?
In addition to absorbing all available information and flavours of the lovely brew, I also wanted to see if it is indeed true that the beer bloggers are all renowned connoisseurs who know just about everyone in the industry including brewers, bar owners and probably also the Queen of England. If they really do read about, talk about, drink massive volumes of and later when sobered up write about beer like there is no tomorrow. And if there is such a thing as a typical beer lover – or if they like most common people can be tall or short, thin or slightly more…round, annoyingly extrovert or unbearably shy.
The session with eight bloggers presenting five minutes each about their own chosen subject proved to be very useful. It turns out that one is a veteran blogger, enthusiastic photographer and general voice of reason. Another is a Brazilian magazine editor, entertaining chef and sour beer fan. The Florida based software consultant is a burst of energy and a pumpkin beer advocate. The Belgian beer expert is caught-up in listing numerous award-winning beers. The crew of super beer barons happen to be podcast pros also. The San Diego beer fan is quite the expert on the crowded California craft beer scene. The Irish beer snob (self-proclaimed name) is a firm believer that there is more to devour in Ireland than Guinness. And the all-star biker who shared snippets of his world beer mission is starting his next adventure as a brewer.
Of course there were many other weird and wonderful beer lovers to bump into during this weekend, strangers who turned out to be not only excellent dinner company but also partners in beer crime. Take for example the clever long legged travel writer and digital media guru from Canada. Or the charming technical writer and living encyclopaedia from West London. Oh and the electrical engineer turned beer writer with a special fondness for beer glasses and The Kernel. Not to forget the gentleman and his chatty stepson, who can find a beer bottle in times of need like a magician can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
So is it true then, my perception about beer bloggers and writers? Yes pretty much spot on at least in terms of passion, enthusiasm and knowledge – this bunch never stops talking about beer. Indeed they come in all sorts of nationalities, professional backgrounds, shapes and sizes, but the common ground is that they can go on for days as if powered by Duracell batteries, never getting tired of tasting sour beers after Belgian blondes after German pilsner and so on. With a crowd of cheerleaders on Twitter, who are following every move, beer bottle photo and brewer quote – and asking for more, more, more!
But there is also far less beer snobbery than expected in such an experienced and, to be honest, slightly obsessed crowd. Everyone is generously allowed to have his or her own preference for the malty brew, although sometimes challenged for entertainment purposes rather than combat. Perhaps it is true, that the more you learn about a subject the more humble you become? Regardless, what a terrific opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people with a common passion for the never boring brew.
More information: beerbloggersconference.org