Archive for May 22nd, 2012

May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 3) – Live(ish) Beer Blogging

You’ve no doubt by now read a fair few accounts of the live beer blogging event that took place at EBBC12 last Saturday.  If not, why on earth not!  This was a fascinating opportunity for all of us attending to see if we could taste, and blog about, 10 different beers in the course of just 50 minutes – the brewers had 5 minutes each to tell us what they could while we tasted and typed like maniacs, before the time was up and they all rotated round to the next table of wild-eyed, beer bloggers rapidly developing RSI.

It was of course obvious that I needed to get the laptop set up in advance, make sure I could connect to the wireless internet, and if that failed get successfully tethered to a mobile connection despite never having done that with that particular laptop and phone combination.  Obvious.  So naturally I found myself with five minutes to go, booting up in just enough time to discover that none of the available network connection options were going to work for me.  Poor reception was the final straw, so even though I got online I couldn’t get my blog loaded up to type anything meaningful.

All was not lost however, and I decided to type away offline and worry about posting it later.  As someone not accustomed to writing reviews of beers, certainly not in such short timescales or rapid succession, it was a challenge, and clearly the teams of brewers circulating amongst us were up against it too, so all credit to them for an excellent showing.

I could regale you now with my florid descriptions of the fine ales that appeared in my glass at five minute intervals, but you’d quickly realise that others can do that far better than me.  By way of a summary though there was only one beer that failed to impress me (and reading other posts on the subject the opinions are divided), and there were three or four outstanding offerings amongst the rest.  I don’t think I can do justice to the descriptions and therefore won’t elaborate, it wouldn’t be fair.  What was great to see was the representatives from ten breweries all talking with passion and enthusiasm about their beers, all offering something different – different styles, different treatment of the style, different methods of serving and even different presentation tactics.

I’m in danger of getting repetitive in these posts now but as a celebration of the variety of beer this was a fantastic hour’s “work”.  Maybe by next year I can get up to pace on the actual blogging too…

Tags: , ,
May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 2) – Post Futures

Over the course of the weekend just gone, someone made a comment about selling “beer futures” – pay now for a beer that hasn’t even been brewed, in the hope of profit later.  I can’t quite recollect who it was so apologies for not crediting it properly.  The comment came back to me just now as I was mulling over the events of EBBC12, when I thought about the Saturday morning sessions and in particular the one on how to make best use of Social Media. 

The slightly aggressive commercial approach to using social media wasn’t to everyone’s taste, and grated slightly against the ethos of blogging being a very personal thing, with everyone making it to be what they wanted it to be.  On the other hand, the reality is that if youdowant to develop your following as a blogger in a more disciplined way, you have to change your mindset to one of marketing yourself rather than just being yourself. 

That was when I was struck by the thought that in many ways blogging can be like developing a “post futures” market.  Followers are gained on the basis of past performance and reputation, maybe the odd tip-off in another blog.  What they get in return is the value of your future posts.  Fail to deliver and the market will turn away from you, but get it right and the demand only grows.

It still all depends on what your motivation actually is though – I’ve met lots of people this weekend who write simply because they are passionate about their subject, and while we all get a kick out of knowing that people read, and enjoy, what we write it isn’t necessarily important to them just how many people read it.  Others are far more interested in developing their writing and their popularity as a writer.  Whichever category you might be in, it seems to me that “post futures” are looking rosy at the moment.  I just wish I had enough time to read as many of the great blogs that are out there as I would really like, especially after discovering a whole host of great new writers this weekend!

May 22, 2012

EBBC12 – the aftermath (part 1)

If you don’t know by now that the European Beer Bloggers Conference was held in Leeds last weekend then you’ve probably either been asleep for a month, or have been comatose through enjoying your beer a bit more than is perhaps advisable! Put 100 or so bloggers into a room for a couple of days, let the beer flow freely and sit back as the words flow even more freely. There are countless blog posts that were generated over the course of the weekend, and still now (like this one) as part of the aftermath. A range of views, opinions, and writing styles all telling their own stories of the event.  Personally, I’m still trying to catch up with all that’s been written, collate my own thoughts, and get my own posts out there into the mix.

One of the first two panel sessions, on Friday afternoon, saw Adrian Tierney-Jones and Simon Jenkins debating some of the finer points of beer blogging. Length of posts was a big theme, and while there is no conclusive answer to what is right or wrong, I can appreciate the arguments in support of keeping posts short. It will be something I consider as I write up my thoughts on EBBC12, aiming for a few short summaries rather than one long one – hopefully they’ll be easier to read as a result, but also I’m hoping to find lots of short posts are easier to write than a few long ones.

That could be taken as my cue to wrap this one up, but I’ll go on just a little longer if I may.

For me, this session demonstrated right from the outset what diversity there is in beer blogging. Plenty of contrasting views at every turn, and good healthy debate. Different motivations for writing a blog, and so different approaches that need to be taken. The same goes for views on specific beers, and there’ll be more later on how that came out through the various tastings. Rarely was there a unanimous view around the room on anything, and if there had been then I think the discussions would have suffered as a result. However I think if there was to be a consensus on anything, it would be that EBBC12 was a great event, Leeds was a great city to hold it in, and EBBC13 should be well worth looking forward to!