The 4th annual European Beer Bloggers Conference concluded last weekend in Dublin. This was the first year that the conference left the UK, and delegates from around Europe jumped at the chance to convene in Ireland to learn about the Irish Craft Beer scene, gain new insights into blogging and social media, and network.
Thursday – Pub Crawl
Festivities kicked off Thursday night with a pub crawl organized and led by Reuben Gray of The Tale of the Ale.
The #TrailofAle pub crawl, as it was dubbed, visited several local pubs that featured a selection of craft beer. Over 30 attendees of the conference participated, and each location we visited was already bustling and/or overflowing with people so it was a boisterous, loud, and very fun event!
@irishbeersnob @11pmSomewhere @caroldekkers recording an #ebbc14 preview here right now come on down!!! pic.twitter.com/JXQvjE5TFY
— Brew Dock (@BrewDock) June 26, 2014
If you’re from the US, you may naturally associate Ireland with beer and assume that craft beer abounds. The reality is quite opposite of that, so these bars are a few of only a handful in the area that has a good selection.
Craft Beer in Ireland is just starting to gain some traction in the market place, and the country is poised to enjoy its own craft beer revolution here in the years to come. It is a very exciting time to be in Ireland and involved in Craft Beer!
Revisiting the last stop from last night’s #thetrailoftheale #trailofale #ebbc14 pub crawl. Much better without t… pic.twitter.com/t8rTXCCi4Z
— Erin and Brett (@ourtastytravels) June 27, 2014
We want to extend a thank you to the establishments who welcomed our group – treating us with fine beer and some tasty treats!
So far, big thanks to @BrewDock @JWSweetman and @Norseman1696 for sorting us with free food and/or drink. #EBBC14 #TheTrailOfTheAle
— Reuben Gray (@TaleOfAle) June 26, 2014
With the help of Reuben Gray, who assisted us in many aspects to bringing #EBBC14 to Dublin, the conference took place at The Church. As the name suggest, The Church is indeed an old church in Dublin’s City Center area that has been converted into a gorgeous restaurant, bar, and event center. Our group took over the Cellar and Tower Bar area of the venue for the two days, and it was the perfect setting.
I’ve found some fellow bloggers in @thechurch_ie #ebbc14 pic.twitter.com/OcXqFCvSLX
— The Ormskirk Baron (@baron_orm) June 27, 2014
In addition to delicious food and a perfect atmosphere for a beer bloggers conference, the staff at The Church was amazing. They were accommodating, gracious, and flexible, and we are so grateful to have been able to have the EBBC14 hosted there.
New meets old: the striking entrance to @thechurch_ie #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/OU0ULmXhhT
— Susanna Forbes (@DrinkBritain) June 27, 2014
Friday – Conference Day 1
It’s time to register! #EBBC14 #thevinediaries https://t.co/aVysdWjjTv — Matthew Curtis (@totalcurtis) June 27, 2014
Things kicked off on Friday mid-day with an expo featuring beers from our sponsors. This was a great chance for introductions, reunions, and to get a glimpse into the Irish Craft Beer scene.
Folks, I wouldn’t drink pre registration. There’s more beer here than any previous conference. Mini beer festival for #EBBC14 @beerbloggers — Reuben Gray (@TaleOfAle) June 27, 2014
There was a lot of beer poured!
Ready for #ebbc14 @BoBristle @fourprovinces @N17Brew @beerbloggers stop by for our twitter comp! pic.twitter.com/njerxkCRDL — VanguardBeer (@VanguardBC) June 27, 2014
Very impressed with the Franciscan Well Chieftain, reminiscent of Urban IPA #Ebbc14 pic.twitter.com/olVFNRoYgj — Craig Heap (@CraigHeap) June 27, 2014
After the expo we all gathered into the Cellar Bar and Declan Moore, an Irish archaeologist who focuses on ancient brewing techniques, got us started with a delightful and personal presentation on the history of beer vis-a-vie Ireland. We learned about recent discoveries and several hypotheses he and his colleagues have come to as it pertains to ancient brewing techniques in Ireland and brewing in Africa.
First talk at #EBBC14: The History of beer in Ireland with Declan Moore. pic.twitter.com/TUS5tqakDD — Dorothy (@DubBeerGirl) June 27, 2014
What have I learnt so far #EBBC14 ? Monkeys are alcoholics, rats are binge drinkers. — Richard Newberry (@IntoxicatedRich) June 27, 2014
We’ve just had a talk on the history of beer in Ireland and some convincing arguments for beer being the source of all civilisation. #EBBC14 — Chris Hall (@cshallwriter) June 27, 2014
Friday’s content was all geared towards beer and Ireland, and we moved right into the next session presented comparing and contrasting bottled beer to canned beer in Ireland and keg beer to cask beer. James Winans of the Vanguard Beer Collective spoke about the bottle/can aspect and Brian Short of the Brown Paper Bag Project spoke about cask and keg.
Nobody ever got seriously hurt of a can in a bar fight. @VanguardBC. #EBBC14 — Krishan Maudgal (@kmaudgal) June 27, 2014
Being from the US where canning is more and more common, practical, and cost effective, it was a revelation to learn that things are more complex in Ireland. While it seems that there is certainly a desire from the industry to move towards canning, they are logistically prohibited and cost prohibited from doing so because the industry is just still so small.
James from @VanguardBC discusses cans vs bottles – what’s your preference? #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/iEmyQwgQhp — S Finney (@irishfinney) June 27, 2014
Brian of @BrownPaperBagP just has converted me to cask beer @ #EBBC14 agree education is the key I make films let me work with u on this one — A Taste of Ireland (@atasteofireland) June 27, 2014
Concluding our sessions on Friday was a panel of Irish Craft Brewers. Three generations of brewers offered their insights, philosophies, and dreams for the industry. Led by Reuben Gray, the panel consisted of Paul O’Connor from Trouble Brewing, Sarah Roarty from N17, and Cathal O’Donoghue from Rascals Brewing.
Pretty excited for the panel of Irish Craft Brewers. Reminds of of US scene ~15 years ago. #EBBC14 — Derek Springer (@derekspringer) June 27, 2014
@SarahRoarty from @N17Brew just speaking on her philosophy&vision as a brewer @ #EBBC14 simply wow this lady is a real shining light legend. — A Taste of Ireland (@atasteofireland) June 27, 2014
Guinness & Smithwicks
After a brief break, we departed by foot and enjoyed a guided tour as we made our way to St. James Gate — the gates to Guinness!! The comparison to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was overheard several times as we enjoyed a private and priveledged look behind the curtain at this 60 acre historic brewing facility. Our tour guide of the grounds? No other than Master Brewer, Fergal Murray! He introduced us to his team of lead brewers and granted us the first look (by outsiders) of their fourth brewhouse, which is still under construction!
Unprecedented tour of @GuinnessIreland brewery with @beerbloggers #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/tlaArfQBYm — Wayne:Beer Snob (@irishbeersnob) June 27, 2014
Private tour with Fergal Murray master brewer at the Guinness Brewery. Exclusive preview of their New brewhouse. #EBBC14 @GuinnessIreland — Krishan Maudgal (@kmaudgal) June 27, 2014
We were asked not to photograph the new facility, so I leave you with these three words: huge, shiny, and modern. After the sneak peak tour, we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse where we were treated like rock stars by hosts Guinness and Smithwicks. An assortment of stations satiated our hungry group as we noshed on oysters, burgers, fish & chips, and ribs. All this paired with a variety of ales from Smithwicks (pronounced Smithicks) and Guinness.
It’s nice to meet the guys that brew at Guinness. They have the same passion and drive of any ‘craft’ brewer I’ve met. #EBBC14 — Matthew Curtis (@totalcurtis) June 27, 2014
The space was beautiful, our hosts fun, and our time here was most enjoyable. We all also had the opportunity to learn how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness!
Great night at @guinnessireland and @smithwicks having a wonderful dinner and tasting! Who would you like to do a tasting with? #EBBC14
— Let There Be Beer (@LetThereBeBeer) June 27, 2014
BTW a big thank you to @GuinnessIreland for an amazing #beerandfoodpairing session at the storehouse. #EBBC14 #beer pic.twitter.com/knEV48Y3gd
— Krishan Maudgal (@kmaudgal) June 28, 2014
Pilsner Urquell After Party
Feeling full and replete, we powered on. After we departed Guinness, we jumped on buses and were whisked away by Pilsner Urquell for an evening of unfiltered bliss. Master Brewer Vaclav Berka of Pilsner Urquell is a favorite of the EBBC and has been to all four of our conferences. He and his team hosted us for a night of bar hopping and fun in downtown Dublin, and we all got our first conference sips of unfiltered Pilsner Urquell from cask.
#pilsnerurquell goes #EBBC14 all is ready for a great unfiltered from #woodenbarrel @Pilsner_Urquell @arancinacp pic.twitter.com/KkTZiwvPrR — chrismaffeo (@chrismaffeo) June 27, 2014
Ceremonial keg tapping of the unpasteurized pilsner by Vaclav Berka of @Pilsner_Urquell #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/MoDkqNBkCT — Erin and Brett (@ourtastytravels) June 27, 2014
Saturday – Conference Day 2
Given the late hour that most stayed out to, we were pleasantly surprised to see almost all attendees seated and ready for day 2 on time at 10am on Saturday! To reward the group for their dedication and punctuality, we kicked off the day’s session with an insider’s look into the Irish Craft Beer Industry by Dean McGuinness, Managing Director of Premier International Beers and got to taste an assortment of delicious Irish Craft Beer.
The Irish beer industry is roughly where the US was in the 1990s, says @BeerMessiah. #EBBC14 — Chris Hall (@cshallwriter) June 28, 2014
“@BeoirFinder: Now this is a beer label: pic.twitter.com/ZKzy0B298M” exactly its a great template #EBBC14 — Wayne:Beer Snob (@irishbeersnob) June 28, 2014
What’s a craft brewery? “Those dedicated to quality, to giving choice and to honesty”. Dean McGuinness, the @BeerMessiah #EBBC14 #craftbeer — Belgian Smaak (@belgiansmaak) June 28, 2014
Next up, yours truly presented on Social Media. The intent of this session was not to give an overview or be too rudimentary, so I tried to stick to advanced tactics. If you need to reference the presentation, fill out the worksheet I provided, or get links to tools mentioned, click here.
Pilsner Urquell BBC
After a few sessions, it was time to meet up again with Vaclav Berka and his team from Pilsner Urquell where they hosted us for a fantastic BBQ in the spacious patio area of The Church. Always the host, Vaclav made sure that there was enough food and beer to last us days if need be. It was a beautiful afternoon in Dublin, and it was the perfect break from being inside the conference.
@derekspringer pouring some @Pilsner_Urquell cask beer #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/HDEAE7pCX9 — The Church Cafe Bar (@thechurch_ie) June 28, 2014
Executive chef Dave at @thechurch_ie serving up some serious sausages and ribs! #ebbc14 pic.twitter.com/netkkLbNVV — Simon Broderick (@indiesimonb) June 28, 2014
#ebbc14 #brewmaster Vaclav opens another #pilsnerurquell #unfiltered #woodenbarrel for the enjoyment of the public pic.twitter.com/g1Vdaa9uy1 — chrismaffeo (@chrismaffeo) June 28, 2014
@thechurch_ie @Pilsner_Urquell @Pilsner_UK thank you for such an amazing lunch,really hit the spot! #EBBC14 @beerbloggers — The Ormskirk Baron (@baron_orm) June 28, 2014
After lunch, we all sat down to hear a presentation on Supercharging your Blog using WordPress. WordPress.com is a sponsor of the European Beer Bloggers Conference and they sent Derek Springer (a homebrewer and beer blogger himself) all the way from San Diego to give us this enlightening and informative talk on how to use WordPress most effectively.
I use WordPress A LOT and I learned so much from Derek’s talk. His presentation can be found here.
RT @derekspringer: #EBBC14 Thanks for not booing me off stage! Here are my slides from the presentation: http://t.co/FgMf8Ws0Q0… — Erin and Brett (@ourtastytravels) June 28, 2014
Last, but not least, was a session on using Video for your beer blog. This session was co-presented by Mhairi MacLeod of Lux and EBBC14 attendee Tomasz Kopyra of The Beer Guide PL.
Thomasz has attended the last 3 EBBCs and has been vlogging for 2 of them. He has already surpassed 4 million views on YouTube and is enjoying a tremendour amount of success. Thomasz shared some unique insights into what has worked for him with regard to video and beer blogging and surely inspired a few in the room to give video a go.
Mhairi has a great background in Craft Beer and now owns and runs a digital marketing company specializing in food and drink brands in the UK. She offered some really great tips for bloggers as it relates to video blogging and working with brands.
Inspiring talks by Mhairi @theluxteam and Tomasz @BeerGuidePL about video and vlogging. Would be fantastic to do that for a living. #EBBC14 — Dorothy (@DubBeerGirl) June 28, 2014
Keep videos short, clean and to the point. Sound advice. #EBBC14
— Craig Heap (@CraigHeap) June 28, 2014
Brands want: “Balanced review; Point of difference; Digital footprint; Communication & delivery; No weirdos!” Mhairi of @theluxteam #EBBC14
— Belgian Smaak (@belgiansmaak) June 28, 2014
Beer Ireland Reception
After all that great content, it was then time to reward ourselves with more Irish Craft Beer! Beer Ireland put on a lovely reception for us where several micro producers came and shared samples of their beers with us.
Great new brewery @BlackDonkeyBeer showcasing their Sheep Stealer – a tasty saison! #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/aLUN1v5vcJ — S Finney (@irishfinney) June 28, 2014
Some of Ireland’s newest breweries at #ebbc14 pic.twitter.com/E8t8o7bWfa — Beer Ireland (@Beer_Ireland) June 28, 2014
@beerbloggers #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/9KGjNjKyIH — Jules Gray (@beer_revere) June 28, 2014
Franciscan Well Dinner
After the Beer Ireland reception, it was then time to head into dinner hosted by Franciscan Well Brewery. Much like all of the meals and food we enjoyed this weekend, this dinner was over the top. Four courses were perfectly paired with various Franciscan Well offerings and by the time the sparkling (as in on-fire) cream puff towers arrived for course three, our minds were all collectively blown.
Now for the keynote by Shane Long of @FranciscanWell and matched dinner for #ebbc14 delegate dinner. pic.twitter.com/BchR20xGp2 — Wayne:Beer Snob (@irishbeersnob) June 28, 2014
FranWell dinner #ebbc14 pic.twitter.com/KmNtYi6U3P — 11PM Somewhere (@11pmSomewhere) June 28, 2014
Wonderful #beerandfoodpairing again thanks to @FranciscanWell at #EBBC14 great food and great #beer! #the_church pic.twitter.com/gum0UuTDDr — Krishan Maudgal (@kmaudgal) June 28, 2014
As we sat digesting, we enjoyed a Keynote speech by Shane Long where it was a nice mix of personal experience and vision for Irish Craft Beer.
Everybody has a slice of the pie. Wise words from Shane Long of @FranciscanWell #EBBC14 — Wayne:Beer Snob (@irishbeersnob) June 28, 2014
Superb close – ‘the most exciting project I’ve worked on’ @FranciscanWell Shane with @IrishJameson Stout #EBBC14 pic.twitter.com/KnDHQF9swp — Susanna Forbes (@DrinkBritain) June 28, 2014
Carlow Brewing Co
The final event of EBBC14 was hosted by Carlow Brewing Company – maker of O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer. The O’Hara’s flowed freely, music played, and many good conversations were had.
The evening of #oharas #irishcraftbeer is in full swing here @thechurch_ie for #EBBC14 Slainte! pic.twitter.com/dVNPh7yeAf — Carlow Brewing Co (@OHarasBeers) June 28, 2014
At the @OHarasBeers after party, drinking their barrel aged series – need more of this stuff! #EBBC14 — S Finney (@irishfinney) June 28, 2014
Properly bitter modern twist on Irish amber #ebbc14 – Drinking an Amber Adventure by @OHarasBeers – http://t.co/WXHW5GPgrd #photo
— Bryan Betts (@beer_viking) June 28, 2014
This tweet sums up everything pretty nicely…
What a weekend! 63 Beers (48 Irish). Found some of the best beer bars in Dublin. Great food. Met some wonderful bloggers. Success! #EBBC14
— Erin and Brett (@ourtastytravels) June 29, 2014
Thank you to all who contributed to making EBBC14 a big success! We will be working hard over the next few months to secure the location and dates for next year’s conference, so stay tuned!
Please share the URLs to your conference blog posts in the comments below – we want to read every single one of them!
Matthieu Bacheley shared some insightful Twitter Stats from the weekend in this Tweet:
Twitter Statistics and Rankings of #EBBC14 since:2014-06-21 http://t.co/PQ08sriF3D via @TweetBinder #EBBC14
— Matthieu Bachely (@matthieubachely) June 29, 2014