And the day goes on. Lots of good beer at all the sessions. What a great idea! I think computer conferences (which I sometimes go to) should start this practice. Serve a nice Saison or Mild while talking about new techniques in Artificial Intelligence. It would bring in crowds and make people happy. They might not pay as much attention to the topic but you never know. At this conference it is a welcome addition to the session.
The keynote by Ken Grossman was well done. He basically went through from the beginnings of Sierra Nevada to its current state, focusing in on the beginning days mostly. It is amazing to see how they started and to what they have become. I ran into Brian Yaeger from “Red, White, and Brew” and he commented on how he hopes some of the naysayers listened to Ken and got in their heads that this guy is not some nameless head – he started out real small and has worked hard to get his company to where it is. Right on, Brian – I am with you. One of the best parts of the keynote was the beer that was passed out. Not exactly sure which club made it but I saw Brian from Mad Zymurgists was passing out what he called an Alpine Imperial IPA – well, it kicked butt – fine huge IPA with great balance. I got some great shots of Ken’s slideshow I will put up soon.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Ray Daniels and Randy Mosher. They did a four part serious today about making better beer. Kind of a mind dump from them about a lot of different homebrew areas. The two I went to were “Making Better Beer III: Thinking About Recipes” and “Making Better Beer IV: Getting Inside the Heads of Some of the Best Homebrewers”. They were a bit over my head in terms of technical details but I am happy I went to them. In the first one they went through the different ways to build a recipe – from the artistic perspective and from the scientific. For me it is just fun to start hearing about the different ideas and issues that come up with homebrewing – it is all new and so I am all ears even when I don’t understand. And there was plenty of tips and ideas to start applying with my next batch (which I’ve really got to get to soon).
Finally, the last session was a panel discussion with top homebrewers. Great to see the different personalities and to hear the stories. This hobby is amazing. One guy, Dave Pyle, who won Homebrewer of the Year in 2005 – has like 12 bourbon barrels in his garage filled with lambics that he will blend and let sit for years. Talk about taking things to the next level. And yet they all started somewhere and went through things like spilling wort all over and not having a real funnel just like I did. It is a nice club to be in.
Time to have some dinner – club night is in a few hours. I hear it gets a bit crazy.
And then tomorrow is another day. I even bought a ticket to the grand banquet, mostly because I got so excited to taste some of Sean Paxton’s food. What a weekend!