Attending the European Beer Bloggers Conference has clearly shown me that I am not at all good at blogging. There’s a hell of a lot of good stuff being done out there and some of he talks has shown me that it’s not just about content. Recently I have committed one of the cardinal sins of the blogging world, you don’t have to blog offer but you have to do it regularly and over the past 6 weeks are so I neglected the site due to other commitments. Blogging is 100% about commitment so bare with me and I’ll get there…. eventually.
One thing that has brought this close to home is the recent attention in social media circles around the sale in Ireland for the first time of the Charles Wells and Dogfish Head collaboration brew, DNA Brave New World. I had tried this last March in London and even had taken the obligatory photo and complied my tasting notes but had failed to blog about this. In fact if one was to look through the photos on my phone, they’d think I had a serious problem as they’re all about beer. So this post is an attempt to get back on track.
DNA Brave New World poured a vibrant amber colour from the cask. Whilst it was envisaged of having a nutty aroma, I picked up woody notes and even a hint of pine. There was an extremely pleasant bitterness on tasting, washed through with peach and other tropical fruits. Relatively smooth on the finish with just the right balance of bitterness throughout.
The beer will attract a lot of attention due to the involvement of Sam Caligione and the Dogfish Head family. At 4.5% ABV it was a pleasant pint and anything from Dogfish Head is rare in Europe (and in a large chunk of the US) so the transatlantic collaboration is welcome. No doubt some people will come away disappointed because it’s no 60 minute IPA (and certainly not the others in the range). However, it does have some parallels with 60 minute, a special reduction of it was used in the production of the new beer, hence the DNA name.
Available in Ireland both on cask in bottles, it will be interesting to see the reaction out there. Interestingly it’s one of the ales selected by the first of the J.D. Wetherspoon’s Irish pubs to open. The Three Tun Tavern will open in Blackrock on 8 July 2014.
It’s been some time now since I last posted and it certainly hasn’t been a case that I’ve been ignoring the beer scene. It has just been insanely busy and given that the European Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 is taking place in Dublin this weekend, there’s no time like the present to get back into it. The conference, only in its fourth year, takes place for the first time outside of Britain (previous host cities were London, Leeds & Edinburgh) and it’s shaping up to be a great event.
I go to conferences a lot for work and they can be tedious affairs. You encounter people who are always looking down at name-badges checking out if there are more important people they could be talking to. However, the best conferences undoubtedly are beer related and I attend them in a personal capacity. Although, I did do a beer tasting for conference attendees in Brugge last week that certainly livened up proceedings for delegates. Ian over at 11pmsomewhere.com has put together a guide for attendees for the European Beer Bloggers Conference 2014.
This conference will be different because I certainly need to brush up on my social media and blogging skills (once described as “criminally under-publicised”) so the Saturday sessions will be for me. No disrespect to those speaking on the Friday on the Irish craft beer scene keg v cask and bottle v can and whatnot, they’re interesting topics and will prompt debate (hopefully on the future of organisations such as CAMRA). However, it is looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll be able to make most of the Friday sessions. I’ll certainly be there for the trip to the Guinness Storehouse and this brings up an interesting issue. There was a lot of discussion on blogs and other social media platforms on the subject of sponsorship by Big Beer. Sadly a few conscientious beer objectors felt they couldn’t participate in an event with such sponsors. This is a shame because most events need sponsors and surely as bloggers they didn’t have to feature the sponsors if they didn’t want to (not suggesting a breakaway European Craft Beer Bloggers Conference).
The best feature of course will be to meet the fellow attendees, many for the first time but those we’ve been chatting with or slagging on twitter. Some of whom have written some fantastic books on beer. It will also be an opportunity to catch-up with the Irish brewers attending due to being panellists or presenting their wares at a reception hosted by Beer Ireland. Sarah Roarty’s promised delegates something special and she’s bringing her award winning Oatmeal Stout on cask – happy days! A big shout out has to be given to the irrepressible Carlow Brewing Company which is not only sponsoring the final reception (following the Franciscan Well Dinner hosted by Shane Long) they’re giving the attendees the opportunity to collaborate on a new beer.
The pre-conference Trail of Ale led by Reuben (www.taleofale.com) will give delegates a opportunity to explore some of the finer beer bars of the city. J.W. Sweetman’s, the Palace, The Porterhouse, The Norseman and two of the Cottage Group estate (the Black Sheep and Brew Dock) because like in most cities, specialist beer bars tend to come along in groups. The Porterhouse will be a familiar name to those attending from London but what is often overlooked is that when it opened up its Covent Garden pub back in 2000, it was only the second specialist beer bar in London, after the Mark Dorber’s re-imagining of the White Horse in Parson’s Green. The re-emergence of the London beer scene is very much like the transformation that has taken place in this country over the past decade.
There’s certainly going to be a lot of drinking and socialising being done of the course of the next few days. This is all the more fitting in a week where a report published by the Health Research Board branded almost a third of the population as “harmful” drinkers. It’s time for a change in thinking on what constitutes binge drinking. The role of beer bloggers will become even more influential in combatting the fact that beer is always singled out by the anti-drink lobby. We can put forward the facts because the anti-drink lobby, whatever their objectives, tend to ignore the facts such as in Ireland consumption is now 25% lower than 2001 and is back to pre-1990 levels and average consumption fell by 7.6% between 2012 and 2013.