"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beer Bloggers Conference: Part 5

The crew from Beer Bloggers Conference departed the Indiana Microbrewers Festival and made way to Indiana World Class Beer—a beer wholesaler under the Monarch Beverage Company umbrella—where we were treated to a meal (with beer, of course) and a private tour of the factory floor.

En route, our bus was regaled with the comedic stylings of Mike AKA BrewDad whose personality, true to his handle, is typical of the average, beer-swilling American dad; he’s boisterous, jolly, and he says things in public that would make his kids die of embarrassment.  Luckily, no one on the bus had paternal links to him so, far from mortification, we were entertained: entertained by stories of him falling asleep in a Chicago women’s restroom during the pre-conference excursion, for example.  I can only imagine the shade of red I’d turn if my dad said that on a crowded bus.  Needless to say, BewDad’s engaging nature made him a very popular figure at the conference. 

We arrived at World Class Beer and, naturally, bee-lined to the nearest bathroom.  After emptying our bladders we helped ourselves to a buffet-style hamburger dinner, stuffed our faces, and listened as the folks at World Class explained their role in the beer industry. 

World Class Beer was wise to invite beer bloggers into their facility because, in the three-tier system of alcohol distribution, wholesalers are considered “the bad guys”.  People assume that distributors sneer at craft beer as it doesn’t bring in as much money as Budweiser and others of that ilk.  People assume that distributors want to keep craft beer out of their warehouses as it may squat on space that would’ve otherwise been reserved for big, money-making brands.  Beer geeks can be brutally anti-corporate in that way but, the truth is, yes, World Class Beer has a ton of Coors, Corona, and other such crap but they also have one big-ass building with plenty of space for craft beer, too. 

World Class Beer’s employees were as geeky about craft beer as the conference attendees and, to ensure craft’s continued success, they must distribute Pong Beer Lite (yes, that’s a real thing) and other flavorless fare to trust fund frat boys and the rest of the throngs of domestic beer drinkers.  If distributors didn’t carry the popular and profitable big brands then they wouldn’t have enough money to operate a business and then craft beer wouldn’t have any means of transportation.  It’s an all-or-nothing situation; craft cannot be distributed if non-craft isn’t also.  Hug a distributor today because they’re not hurting the craft beer community, they’re doing everything to safeguard its growth.

One step forward with craft beer, two steps back with this swill
After the speech, we walked the factory floor.  Remember the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Ark of the Covenant was wheeled down the seemingly-infinite warehouse of crates?  World Class Beer is a lot like that except with beer ergo more impressive.

We took advantage of a cheese-ball photo-op and strolled down the colossal aisles of beer.  We marveled at the enormity of it all: the beers we never knew existed, the packaging line, the cold keg storage.  It was a cathedral of beer, a synagogue of suds, a mosque of malts; all disciples of craft beer should be so lucky as we who gazed upon the glory of a beer distribution warehouse.

Magnificent though it may have been, the tour was running late and cutting into Night of Many Bottles.  Without much further ado, we boarded our buses and headed back to the hotel for the night’s last hoorah.

What is Night of Many Bottles?  Just a beer geek’s fantasy come to life, that’s all.  Generally, beer bloggers are loyal to their region and happy to explain such devotion by sharing with you their state’s best booze.  That’s the idea behind Night of Many Bottles: introduce the beer you love to the people that have yet to taste it.  It's about bringing hidden gems to light and allowing fellow geeks a taste of what they can’t get at their hometown liquor store (sorry New Belgium Brewing; Fat Tire’s great but it’s nothing new to anybody). 

Nicole and I felt compelled to bring as many uniquely-Colorado beers as possible.  Beers like Apis IV from Elevation Beer Co., Hypothesis Belgian-style Double IPA from River North Brewery, Ryeteous Rye IPA from Renegade Brewing Company, Pali Pilsner from Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse & Brewery, Mountain Livin’ Pale Ale from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, Summertime Ale from Crystal Springs Brewing Company, Cocoa Molé from New Belgium Brewing, B3K from Wynkoop Brewing Company, Stephanie’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie from Crabtree Brewing Company, India Pale Ale from Upslope Brewing Company, and my homebrewed Lavender Kӧlsch.  Now that is how you showcase the weird and wonderful world of Colorado craft beer; some of these might cross the state line but, for the most part, they are exclusive to Coloradoans.

We handed Elle Potter our beers the day before and found them in the conference room when we returned from World Class Beer, chilling in tubs of ice.  The tubs were separated by region just like at Great American Beer Festival but, unlike GABF, there were no crowds and hardly a flagship in sight—just the small, hard-to-come-by beers that attendees thought best represented their state. 

Here are the highlights of Night of Many Bottles:

·         Colorado’s own Chipper Dave of Fermentedly Challenged and I hung out in the Rocky Mountain section for a bit and preached the good word of Colorado beer to all passersby.  A testament to the distinctiveness of the beers at the event, Dave brought some Colorado beer even I hadn’t had (Ménage à Trois from Crabtree is awesome!).  I tried to keep my mouth shut when people went for my homebrew as I didn’t want to influence their opinion.  Everybody seemed to like it, though, so that was an ego boost. 
·         Many thanks to Tamre of Girls Pint Out who brought Apocalypse Cow from Three Floyds Brewing Co. as per my request.  A friend of mine had been raving about that beer for some time and, thanks to Tamre, I now understand the accolades.
·         There was a time-lapse camera set up in the corner capturing all the action.  I went and shook my butt in front of it for a few minutes, long enough for the naked eye to register it in the final cut, I hope.
·         A few non-beer blogging hotel guests of dubious intelligence snuck in to the conference room and stole an entire tub of beer.  Luckily, they weren’t as sneaky as they thought as BrewDad caught them red-handed, gave them a piece of his mind, and left with a piece of their asses.  The tub was safely returned. 
·         It was my impression that Night of Many Bottles was an opportunity to swap cans and bottles to make mixer-sixers but most people were content to simply drink on site.  Well, I brought swapping beers and, by golly, I was going to swap!  If I saw a can or bottle that caught my eye, I snagged it and stashed it under my secret table.  So, there; that’s my confession via blog but don’t ostracize me because I replaced every beer I took with one of my Colorado beers; I didn’t affect the overall quantity.

Our allotted time in the conference room eventually ran out and we had to pack up and leave but, as Semisonic says, “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”  We opted not to go home and instead snagged the open bomber bottles, brought them to the hotel lobby, and continued the party!

We who miraculously had energy to spare sat at the lobby bar which, due to it being one in the morning, was completely deserted.  We poured ourselves beer from the ever-warming bottles but the tepidness of our drinks was of no consequence—we were already three sheets to the wind and having a blast geeking out on beer and meeting new friends.  Not only was the after-party great fun, it was also historic; BrewDad reached 1,000 beers on Untappd!  Here’s to 1,000 more, Mike.

Look at BrewDad with all these chicks; what a stud!

Stud status revoked

Stud status reinstated
Fun though it was, it couldn’t last forever.  The last drop had been drunk and it was time to put an end to a very full day.  The festivities weren’t quite over, though; we still had a half day of conference to attend and too little sleep to get us through it.

Hang in there, patient reader.




  1. The Night of Many Bottles and the after party was definitely a fun time. I ended up not taking home any bottles at all (my bad). I really wanted to but with my small suitcase and my lack of insight to ship beer home, I simply did all my tasting there. By the Sunday morning conference sessions I had had enough beer for one weekend.

    1. That's one good thing (and I do mean ONE good thing) about driving from Colorado to Indiana; we had a whole cooler we could fill up and pack in the car. I had a nearby family reunion to attend so I wanted to make sure I had a stockpile of good beer to get me through the day.

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  3. oh great guys i hope you people had a superb event, clearly a lot of effort on your part. Any ways i have just come across a beer blog http://ctfinebistro.com/blog/ hope you people will enjoy reading it regarding styles of beer.

  4. A lot of people drink beer everyday. When people want beer they demand it. If theirs no beer they will go crazy. Why people think it makes such a difference in what beer they get. It all taste nasty. How could some people like the taste? What is your favorite thing about beer?Why should it be such a huge part of society. People get killed from drunk driving?

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