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Jun 24

AHA Conference Wrap-up

The conference finished this past weekend and I have been trying to make sense out of some of my notes that I took during the various sessions and about the conference as a whole. The only negative was the lack of Wi-Fi in the conference area, but after Michelle added a little beer to my laptop, I believe I can understand why no one else was trying to take digital notes. In her defense, she was holding about 4 glasses of sample beer and trying to pass them to me as I was getting another set of refills. Which leads me to my list of very cool things about this conference, which is a list of random thoughts:

  • The conference center has a robust yeasty smell that is noticeable when you walk in the door, no matter what time of day. It’s not a bad smell at all and is a great indication of what the conference is about.
  • Any session where beer is provided in a well loved session.
  • Examples are great, in this case various recipes and styles of beer were provided to help illustrate the points made during the sessions.
  • "Homebrewers," my friend Bill said at the conference, "like really good beer. It’s just too expensive to buy really good beer all the time and that’s why I brew my own."
  • Saison was originally made in the East of Belgium and referred to a season, not produced in the West in a specific style.
  • Pro-Brewers night had over 20 brewery’s represented with over 75 different beers. Club night, amazingly, puts the pro-brewer night to shame.
  • Sam Adams really did start off as a true home brew.
  • The Hospitality Suite is open to everyone and has a lot of really good beers.
  • When determining what barrel to use to age beer in, wine barrels tend to have more tannins and vanilla flavors remaining as opposed to bourbon barrels.
  • When you age a beer in bourbon barrels, the type of beer needs to be taken into consideration. A lighter beer has a great balance at 90 -180 days, with more oak and less bourbon as time progresses. A darker beer, like a porter or stout, tends to do better earlier, in the 90 day range as a maximum before the beer becomes too sweet.
  • People who brew, love to share and challenge themselves to create the best beer possible, not just to copy styles and tastes that others have already created.
  • Brettanomyces is not a bad thing in brewing.

I really enjoyed seeing the people who were getting recharged listening to the different discussions and asking very detailed questions about the various steps in order to go home and try some of the new techniques learned during the conference. On Thursday I’ll post a review of the different beers we tried during the conference.

I’d like to wrap up with a thank you to the Brewers Association and encourage anyone who is interested to attend the 2009 Conference in San Fransisco. This is a conference where people are passionate about their hobby and willing to share information and stories with anyone, oddly enough, over a beer. Even a non-brewer like myself was welcomed and ended up learning a lot about various styles, beer history and what goes into making high quality beer.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:31 pm in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments ()

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