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  • Hamilton Riley

#BeerNow19: Sam Neill Edition

"I would have liked to see Montana..."

"No papers?" "No papers." I remember as a kid it was the first big movie I saw at home. Back in the day, you couldn't just get an unlocked Fire Stick and watch anything you want. If you didn't see it first run in the movie theater, you had to rent it at a *gasp* brick & mortar video store. But when I was 10, Home Box Office, better known as the pay channel you just unsubscribed from now Game of Thrones is done, used to run movies before it hit the video store and this was one of the first blockbusters (pun intended) they acquired. Being in a household with history buff parents meant a lot of yellow-wedge questions about the true story behind this fictional tale. In The Hunt of the Red October, Sam Neill's character discusses what he will do when (spoiler alert) he defects to the United States. That plan was outlined and then reiterated later on as he laments never being able to visit Montana. I somewhat feel connected to this character, and in his fictional-still-actually-alive-in-real-life memory, I will live out his final wishes. It is that time again, and while we have blown through much of the spring (and our 5th Anniversary!) with little fanfare, as we are still working through most of our site changes/upgrades. But what better time of the year to get the juices flowing again than by talking about our annual pilgrimage to our BeerNow Conference. A lot of things are different this time around. First off, it is now called BeerNow versus the old Beer Bloggers & Writer's Conference. It now encompasses a wide variety of influencers on various social media, so it is not just corny articles like ours all the time, it's everything we post to Instagram/Twitter or anything your parents tell you they saw on Facebook. We are also talking about this before memorial day versus the July/August timeframe. Well, it is a lot earlier this year, but I don't see anyone complaining that it is less than 10 months from the last bit of fun. And lastly the location is a little further than we are accustomed to. As this is our/mine 5th time at this event and I will say that Great Falls, Montana is a just a bit more west than last year's backyard BBQ in DC. So what are we getting ourselves into and why Montana? Well it is a unique destination, but not one that in anyway should be overlooked. While the sheer number of breweries are at Virginia's levels 5 years ago during The Great Expanse, it is per capita where Montana excels. The 2nd most breweries and 5th most economic impact per capita in the US. What does that mean? A lot of people like beer in Montana and they shell out serious cash to get it. And why shouldn't they, it's great beer. 15 GABF medals where handed out to Montana brewers in the past 3 years. Again, looking at the sheer number of breweries and populace, it is a Top 5 performance. It's a great scene that just keeps getting better. So why are WE going there? Well part of the early conference dates this year is to line up with the Great Falls Craft Beer Week, where brewers from across the state come and show off their best brews. And when we are in town, they have rolled out the red carpet. Not only will there be plenty of good food and beer, but the brewers and Montana beer fans will be on display talking about their passions. And that's what keeps us doing what we do! As always, Virginia Brew Review will the at the #BeerNow19 Conference in Great Falls, Montana from June 5-9. Make sure to follow us on Instagram & Twitter to get all of the updates from this annual tradition.

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