Hoards of Beer Bloggers

Trevor Carmick

Trevor Carmick

I just watched a waitress card three guys in the Asheville airport. Funny thing is, they’re three of the coolest beer bloggers in the country. How cool? Trevor Carmick, probably the youngest, made Time magazine’s “25 Best Bloggers” list in 2013. And yesterday, in Brandon Kraft‘s geek-worthy presentation at the Beer Bloggers Conference, he concluded with hilarious samples of social media comments and complaints he’s received over the years from people confusing him with Kraft Foods. (Guess who grabbed the Twitter handle @kraft first?) Rounding out the group is Brandon’s buddy Brandon Fischer of 365 Brew, who says, “His (Kraft’s) wife and daughters just call me ‘Fischer.’” I’m imagining that some of that collective coolness rubbed off on me when we all shared a taxi to the airport.

So how was my first BBC? As awesome as a perfectly balanced extreme IPA.

Will Siss with a beechwood sample used to age Budweiser

Will Siss with a sample of the beechwood used in Budweiser aging

Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association, and co-author of Beer Pairing (December, 2016 release), kicked off the conference, dazzling us with a PowerPoint loaded with facts and stats on the dizzying growth of craft beer. An Anheuser-Busch brewmaster took us through a typical sensory panel tasting where we sampled brews at different stages, including wort (the liquid that will become beer after fermentation) and unfiltered, unpasteurized, uncarbonated beer. We heard from fellow bloggers and writers who have published books on regional beers and breweries from Florida (Gerard Walen, Mark DeNote) to Connecticut (Will Siss).

Beer Babe Carla Jean Lauter

Beer Babe Carla Jean Lauter

We paid plenty of attention to advice from Scotsman Rich Taylor (@TheBeerCast) with 3835 Twitter followers and Carla Jean Lauter (@beerbabe) with over 17,600 followers. Kim Jordan, founder of New Belgium Brewing Company, the third largest craft brewery in the country, wowed us with a sharp and sassy speech. The brewers themselves led us on tours through Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada and smaller regional breweries. The absolute most exciting moment for me? Scoring a photo with my hero, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman and three brewers from Brauhaus Riegele during Grossman’s surprise appearance at an amazing BBQ dinner put on by Sierra Nevada.

Ken Grossman, Leslie, and German brewers

Ken Grossman, Leslie, and German brewers

Absorbing all the information was as impossible as meeting all the participants or drinking all the beers. So what was my take-away? I collected a fat stack of business cards with names and blogs I’ll be checking out in the coming weeks. I learned I’ve got to up my game with Twitter and Google Analytics and explore sites like Canva (graphic design) and Unsplash (free high-res stock photos) and mobile app Untappd (for sharing what you’re drinking on social media sharing).

I was awed that most conference participants were attending on their own dime and their Day Job vacation time. They work as coders, event planners, photographers and a lot more. They squeeze reading, research, interviews and writing into precious little free time. Best of all, I got to spend four days in the company of 163 people from all over the U.S. and beyond brought together by two great passions: blogging and good beer.

BBC15 group photo

An informal BBC15 group photo

If you follow “Not My Father’s Beer,” you’ll be reading about many of these bloggers and their work in the coming months. If you don’t want to wait, you can get a head start by clicking on any of the hyperlinks in this post. And be sure to scroll down for more photos from BBC15.

Coming Friday: Episode 19 of “The Brewer’s Backstory,” vignettes in the life of Brad Peters, the brewer protagonist of The Brewer’s Justice, my novel slated for January, 2016 publication.


Brandon Kraft and Brandon Fischer

Blogging buddies Brandon Kraft and Brandon Fischer


Brewer tour leader at Raleigh Brewing Company

By Calfornia standards, Lonerider's prices were a bargain

By Calfornia standards, Lonerider prices were a bargain

Breweries rolled out the red carpet

Breweries like White Street Brewing Co. rolled out the red carpet

Stairs to the taproom at Oskar Blues, famous for its canned beers

Stairs to the taproom at Oskar Blues, famous for its canned beers

In Sierra Nevada's hop storage facility

Inside Sierra Nevada’s cold hop storage

Riding down the highway in style

Riding down the highway in style!

Hanging out with Highland Brewing Company's human bottle, aka Matt Popowski

Hanging out with Highland Brewing Company‘s human bottle, aka Matt Popowski



  1. Carol Dekkers says:

    Great summary Leslie! Best wishes with your upcoming novel release!!!

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Thanks, Carol. It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing a few beers. Hope to see you next year in Tampa Bay!

  2. This was a fantastic recap! It was great to meet you this year, and we hope to see you in Tampa next time. Cheers!

  3. Excellent recap, Leslie! It was a pleasure meeting you.

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Thanks, Dan for the nice comment. I’ll remember you as the first person I ever met at a beer bloggers’ conference. Thanks for being such a nice person!

  4. Carol Nelson says:

    Nice to see a great article ! Of course being the aunt of Trevor Carmick,the most talented beer blogger I know! , might have something to being drawn to this !

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Hi Carol, or as pre-schoolers say, “Hi, Trevor’s aunt!” Trevor is indeed a talented guy and a nice person. I really enjoyed getting to meet him and then checking out some of his animations.

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