|CBC Symposium Beer|
The relationship between homebrewing and craft brewing has always been solid: after all, the American Homebrewers Association gave birth to the Brewers Association, and many professional brewers started as homebrewers. Every time we attend a craft beer event, we run into old friends, make new ones, and re-establish that lineage.
|That's me (l) with Blake Crosby (r)|
Some of the highlights this year included spending some time with Blake Crosby of B.Crosby Hop Farm. Brewing TV had the pleasure of visiting Blake's operation in the Willamette valley last year for our Hop Madness episode. We also sourced rhizomes from Blake this year, so if you're planting some Chinook, Columbus, Mt.Hood, Nugget, Brewers Gold, Williamette, Sterling, or Nugget stock purchased through NB, chances are it came from his farm. Blake was there as a speaker, representing the Oregon hop growers on a panel discussing the versatility of American hops. The talk was very informative, and gave a glimpse into some future trends of the craft beer industry's hop use, and supply chain issues. Brewers from New Glarus, Sierra Nevada and Moonlight Brewery were also on hand with special beers made for the talk. Each brewery brewed two versions of a particular beer, one with traditional German hops and the other with an American substitute. Needless to say, we got to try some amazing beers!
| NB's Juno Choi with two versions |
of Two Women Lager from New Glarus
Another panel discussion moderated by our good friend Jamil Zainasheff (Brewing Network, Heretic Brewing Company, and our Jamil's Evil Twin kit) broke down some nitty-gritty details about yeast storage, propagation, and health. It was fascinating to understand how the same principles we use as homebrewers scale to a professional level.
|Jamil at the podium|
The room was packed! To see Jamil, a homebrewing icon, address a room of well-known craft brewers about yeast was certainly special. We're very proud of Jamil. We've sponsored his show on the Brewing Network for about 6 years now, developed a beer kit with him, included him in multiple NB events, BTV shoots, and can't wait to see what's next for "The Pope". Way to go JZ!
Of course, it wasn't all talks and panel discussions. We ran into industry folks from Muntons, Wyeast, White Labs, LD Carlson, Crosby and Baker, and many others. It's always a great opportunity to share some good times, while talking shop and strengthening relationships. This is paramount in getting our customers the best products, service and value. I get crap from friends all the time when I travel for these events, and the criticism always lands somewhere around, "oh, that must be grueling work" (said in an overly sarcastic tone). Truth be told, these conferences and events are grueling. You're on your feet all day, working, being social, but still getting work done. By the end you feel like you didn't get to do either...but there's a beer in your hand and surely a grin on your face.
Juno Choi, Brian Perkey of Muntons, and Andrew Bartleson (Purchasing Manager NB)
Of course, some of the off-site events offer a reprieve from all the shop-talk. The events are always great ways for breweries, vendors, etc to reinforce vital components to both the craft beer and homebrewing industry; hospitality, good times, and great beer. With my BTV media pass, I was also invited to exclusive beer tasting events. This allowed me a little extra access to the hospitality-side of the conference. After long days of negotiating, networking, and learning, the nights ended on the glue that holds all together....beer.
|Bitter American in cozy - 21st Amendment media event at their brewpub |
As I settled into our return flight, Chris sitting in front of me, Andrew to my left, I couldn't help but think that running into an old friend, getting some truly good news , and sharing a beer somehow summed up the craft beer and homebrew industries.
Some say beer (both craft and homebrew) is an industry, some say it's a community, but for me, it's a family. We help each other in tough times, and we celebrate accomplishments together. It's a group effort, and there isn't a place for in-fighting and grudges. What we need is partnership and respect. I know this view is not shared by all, but I'd like to think it's shared by the people, breweries, and companies Northern Brewer chooses to work with. I'm proud to represent Northern Brewer, and I'm proud, and thankful, to work in such a great industry, community, and family...I think that's what something like the CBC is really about.
|Symposium beer - Sour Brown from Sierra Nevada and Russian River - enjoyed in a Mine pint at home|