BUT! Here we are now :)
Portland is such a wonderful city and I wish I had had a longer excursion to visit Beervana. Within an hour of my arriving (finally!) at the conference host hotel, the group was off on a trip outside the city to the Goschie Hop Farm to tour the facilities as they are amidst the bustling harvest season. What a picturesque site to walk, see, smell and hear all the action as the farmers busily prepare for the harvest!
Friday night concluded with the ever-popular "Night of Many Beers", an event that finds attendees bringing some of their brews from around the country to share with other bloggers that may not have these brews distributed in their region. Disclosure: as Heineken USA paid for my travel and attendance at the Beer Bloggers Conference, I brought some samples of Newcastle's exciting, new, yet-to-be-released seasonal offerings: Newcastle Werewolf and Newcastle Winter IPA.
Saturday was jam-packed with seminars on a variety of industry-related topics, ranging from dissecting beer laws to working with and learning from industry beer bloggers. Following the seminars, we hunkered down for Live Beer Blogging, otherwise referred to as speed-dating for beer bloggers. The event consisted of eight breweries pouring samples in a speed-dating format, talking with groups of bloggers in five-minute intervals to explain the brewery and how a favorite brew is prepared. Valuable takeaway: no matter how cautious you think you are, beer is magnetically attracted to electronics and will manage to find its way into every crevice of you computer (read what was to be my last tweet on my computer from the Live Beer Blogging event: "Last but not least #8 is @ryanaross and karl strauss pouring Boardwalk Black Rye 8i,n][j").
Before departing on Sunday, the conference's morning sessions were all about tools for bloggers, by bloggers. Dan of Life on Tap captured the eight blogger presentations in a blog post better than anything I could attempt to write up, so please give his article a read. Jay Wilson was our keynote speaker and delivered a really great presentation on what it takes to come up with a great idea and execute it in a blogosphere where there already exists so many authors and so much content it can sometimes be hard to determine who the influencers are.
Many influencers within the beer blogging community were most certainly at the Beer Bloggers Conference this year! I encourage you to try to attend next year's conference either in Europe or in America (or both!) if you have the opportunity. The experiences to network, socialize, share and learn from one another are unlike anything else one can pick up from participating in these spaces online alone. I'll look forward to seeing you there.
A final lunch - and Bloody Mary, to boot - were all else I needed before heading back to PDX Airport on the Tri-Met for the long trek back to Hartford. Here were a few of my favorite cell phone pictures captured during the conference, but there are many more if you look at the BBC11 group page on Flickr or visit individual blogger posts.