Blog-ucation in Asheville

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Clockwise from top: Brian Grossman leads brewers on tour of Sierra Nevada Brewing in North Carolina, Kim Jordan addresses bloggers, the outdoor tasting room of Oscar Blues Brewing in Brevard, Ken Grossman (goateed, on left) addresses bloggers.

Some mock blogging as self-centered and self-serving. It’s true that there are those who turn to blogging as a way to marvel at their own words online or try to attain free dinners or gadgets. The same can be said of beer bloggers, of course. We’re just in it for the brewery access, the rare beers, and free glassware. I would argue that I am in it for many things. After three days in July of intense beering and bloggery, I was reminded that two reasons are camaraderie and education.

The event was the sixth annual Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference (they added “& Writers” this year), which welcomed about 150 “citizen” bloggers and writers, along with others who represent brewing entities. We took part in seminars at an Asheville, North Carolina, hotel — Four Points by Sheraton. We also drank a whole lot of beer, but for the most part in reflective ways. Speakers included Kim Jordan, president of New Belgium Brewing Company (which is set to open a brewery in Asheville next year); a representative of Budweiser (Huh? I’ll explain…); and a variety of bloggers with tips on professionalism and improving style. Road trips included tours of the expansive Sierra Nevada Brewery in nearby Fletcher, and the hulking Oscar Blues Brewery in Brevard.

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Competition by the bottle

Competitors and judges gather at a homebrew competition at Backstage in Torrington, Conn. Photo by Tony Leone

Homebrewers do three things very well: brew, drink, and enter brew competitions.

Brewers descended upon Backstage in Torrington on August 9 for the second of three rounds of a Backstage/Sierra Nevada Brewing competition.

The final round is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25, also at Backstage.

The first round drew 35 entries, and round 2 competitors were made up of nine from the top 12 from round 1 and three from an “open” category, explained Stephen Raimondi, a certified beer judge and one of the judges for the compeititions. Brewers submitted 12-ounce bottles for judgement.

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