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The Busy Upcoming Week and Last Minute Great American Beer Festival Thoughts…

Through a combination of events, things have been very quiet here in recent times (a scant 9 posts in two months or more, and most of that recycled BeerAdvocate Mag articles and columns). My law practice, which is my near full-time profession, has been extraordinarily busy this summer and early fall and it will likely continue for another month before it slows down. Despite all of the long hours, I’ve actually enjoyed the crush of legal work and the interesting issues I’ve been tackling. And last month I was named one of 25 “Up and Coming Lawyers” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, a nice acknowledgment of my work on behalf of indigent clients. Despite the crush of legal work, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time on the road this summer. When I wasn’t clocking long hours at the office or in court this summer, I spent nearly a month in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Add to that the week I enjoyed in San Francisco early this summer, and I’ve spent an unusual amount of time on the West Coast. This has sadly come at the expense of travel through my home region of New England and this will be the first November in a few that I won’t be roaming around Franconia or Wallonia. During my travels, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some very interesting beer people and exploring the respective brewing and bar scenes of Oregon, Seattle, San Fran, and Alaska. I’ve banked a lot of solid material and interviews (including with Dick Cantwell of Elysian and Geoff Larson of Alaskan) and I hope to find some time to write on these intriguing places.

In a few days, I’ll be off to Denver, with a brief stop in Colorado Springs, for my annual trip to the Great American Beer Festival. The festival has grown at an extraordinary pace in recent years, from a comfortable event in Currigan Hall to a massive beer carnival in the new convention center. The event sold out in record time this year and it promises to be the biggest event yet. And while I perhaps enjoy visiting the fest less than I have in the past, I am curious to see how the Brewers Association handles the growth of their chief money-making machine. I’m interested in seeing just how much Anheuser-Busch pushes its new American Ale, how consumers and industry folks alike respond to it, and whether there are any signs that the Brewers Association, with its stability and growing self-confidence, is preparing to show the big three the door. I’m also interested to see how regional craft beer organizations, including the Philadelphia Beer Week people, promote their local markets at an event more traditionally focused on promoting craft beer as a national product. I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with friends in the beer world from all parts of the United States and abroad.

And with any luck, upon my return I may have a few minutes to actually clear my notebook and write a few posts. Cheers.

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