GABF Media Experience: The Good, The Bad and The D’Oh!

The 2018 Great American Beer Festival was the first time I attended the GABF as part of the beer media. I wrote a series of articles for the fest on the “environment of beer.” Throughout it all I had good experiences, found a couple of things that didn’t work, and made an audio mistake that ruined my video. Here’s my breakdown of the GABF media experience: the good, the bad and the D’Oh!.

The Good

Nearly the entire beer media experience was fun. The first good item is that I expanded my environment of beer series. I profiled a few breweries, highlighted environmental issues in the brewing’verse, and compiled a comprehensive guide to drinking the best alcohol for the environment. There’s a long list of environmental areas I could write about. Why not beer?

The Sam Adams Media Brunch was very good.

Here’s a handful of the other cool opportunities I had due to my media access.

  1. I attended the Sam Adams media brunch. I got to meet the billionaire Jim Koch. He is the co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company. You might not be familiar with his name, title or brewery. You probably recognize him as the guy from the Sam A dams commercials. Sam Adams is the flagship beer of The Boston Beer Company.

    I shared a brunch beer with Jim Koch, the man in front and behind Sam Adams.

  2. I attended a media-only Denver Beer Trail tour hosted by Visit Denver. We stopped at 3 local breweries, sampled a few beers, and got to chat with the brewers.

    Odell Brewery is a good one. They were well prepared for us.

  3.  I met a bunch of people in the beer media. Check them out: The Beer GoddessBrewDad, Hoplight Social, Celebrator Beer News, Craft Beer Guy, were just a few. It’s interesting to see people who have made a presence and name for themselves in the beer community.
  4. I was allowed into the convention hall to sample the beers hall before it opened to the masses. Masses is a good word to describe the scene. At 5:30 PM on Friday when the hall opened up, there was a constant roar through the hall for the rest of the night.

    More time to sample some 14% beers.

The Bad

There were two things here.

  1. The GABF is a big event to jump into the beer media. Although it provides opportunities, I didn’t have the “ins” that I saw from other media members. I know enough about beer to handle myself, but I’m not entrenched in the full beer culture.
  2. The convention hall is bad place to try to hold real interviews. I didn’t anticipate it would be good, but I quickly put any expectations of quality content aside. The people with the brewery want to chat and have good conversation, not deep conversation.

The D’Oh!

I shot a lot of video at the festival. Some of it is in the video above. Most of the video is great and gives a you a feel of the GABF scene. Here comes the moment of “D’Oh!” I did several travel host-style narration shots. I refer to these as “Rick Steves walk and talk through the plaza” shots. If you know the PBS travel host, Rick Steves, you know what I’m talking about. The set up is the host, me, standing in the crowd with the camera in the distance. I’m wearing a microphone so you can hear me in the distance. The problem was my narration audio is terrible. I made several common audio mistakes. 1) I didn’t have the lavalier microphone close enough to my mouth. 2) I didn’t do a mic check and listen to test audio before recording. 3) I wasn’t wearing ear buds in order to listen to myself. I could blame it on the fact that it was so loud in the hall. But I know that my wing-it plan didn’t work.

One of the walk-and-talk narration clips that didn’t make the cut because of crappy audio.

This ends my environment of beer series…for the moment. The connection between the environmental professional and craft beer communities isn’t going away. Therefore, I’ll keep highlighting it. And I hope to be back to give you more from the 2019 GABF.

Did you attend the Great American Beer Fest? What was your highlight?

For those of you in the beer media, what do you recommend for next year?