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General Category => Events => Topic started by: hopfenundmalz on June 15, 2014, 01:31:45 PM

Title: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 15, 2014, 01:31:45 PM
It is Sunday morning, this one is history. My observations.

Host City - they went all out, the NHC was embraced by the local breweries.
DeVos Center - excellent venue with ample space. The friendly helpful staff were all great.
Local Committee - they rocked it.
Speakers - excellent talks. Too bad you can't go to all of those.
Forum meetup - always fun to meet face to face. Do it again next year.

Edit - the welcome session had poor acoustics, so it was nearly impossible to understand what was said. Overhead signs that identified the beers being poured would be an improvement. MI law states that brewers or distributors can't pour beer at an event like this, so that is why very few MI brewers were around. Still some room for improvement.

Everyone I talked to were all positive about the city. AHA and BA Staff were all smiles.

I put the odds of the NHC coming back to Grand Rapids someday as high.

See you in San Diego next year!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dannyjed on June 15, 2014, 04:48:50 PM
I agree with all your points. Grand Rapids was great! I finally got to meet you and I had a great time hanging out with your fellow club members in the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 15, 2014, 06:39:31 PM
For whatever reasons, I went in with low expectations.  I'm happy to say I was completely wrong.  Great, friendly city, lots of cool breweries and hangout spots, wonderful venue.  But for me, the real treat is always getting to see thr friendsI only see at the conference.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dannyjed on June 15, 2014, 07:07:28 PM
I also got to meet Denny and Drew who have helped me numerous times on this forum. I didn't want to be the "creepy brewer groupie" guy and those guys are very approachable and geniune nice guys. A great time was had by all.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: mabrungard on June 15, 2014, 07:11:43 PM
MI law states that brewers or distributors can't pour beer at an event like this, so that is why very few MI brewers were around. Still some room for improvement.

Oh, that explains it. I was pretty ticked that there was no brewery representation at the Pro counters. I wanted to rub elbows with the folks that actually knew something about the beers. The brewers would have been great, but at a minimum I would have appreciated a knowledgible Brewery Rep or something like that. Sorry we got shot down by another stupid state law. They seem to be everywhere.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Dave_in_Indiana on June 15, 2014, 07:19:24 PM
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 15, 2014, 07:21:53 PM
I also got to meet Denny and Drew who have helped me numerous times on this forum. I didn't want to be the "creepy brewer groupie" guy and those guys are very approachable and geniune nice guys. A great time was had by all.

Dude, we're just homebrewers like everybody else.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 15, 2014, 07:23:33 PM
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Dave_in_Indiana on June 15, 2014, 08:43:25 PM
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.

We sat about in the middle ... to be honest - after the meal, we left.  It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.

Really wanted to hear Jim Koch, too...

Even with that ... I still talked her into San Diego!   ;) :)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: jeffy on June 15, 2014, 10:37:14 PM
When I saw them setting up the banquet tables on the same concrete floor of the Club Night room, I knew it was going to be impossible to hear anything.  I wonder why they didn't use one of the rooms with carpet or lower ceilings.

I agree that I felt very welcome in the local community.  Heck, they had welcome posters at a lot of bars.  They seem genuinely proud to be "beer city."  Lots of stuff within walking distance.  Nice city.

I think it might have been better to have the Homebrew Hospitality Suite closer to the entrance of the expo instead of off to the side.  It was odd that people had faster access to commercial beer than homebrew.  Our club had the very first shift on Thursday before a lot of people found the serving area so we didn't "sell" as much as we thought we would.

What happened to the leftover competition bottles this year?  Was that another state rule?

All in all, the city was friendly and accessible, except transportation to and from the airport (cab only); the venue was good except for acoustics; the seminars were good, but most were only presented once so you had to make a few tough choices. 

I had a big smile for 3.5 hours at club night.  I love club night and they had much more space than last year.

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: MDixon on June 16, 2014, 12:18:31 AM
Here's some conference thoughts.

http://mashbang.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/day-1-grand-rapids-american-homebrewers-conference/

http://mashbang.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/day-2-grand-rapids-american-homebrewers-conference/

http://mashbang.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/final-day-grand-rapids-american-homebrewers-conference/
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: mklawz on June 16, 2014, 12:44:36 AM
I think it might have been better to have the Homebrew Hospitality Suite closer to the entrance of the expo instead of off to the side.  It was odd that people had faster access to commercial beer than homebrew.  Our club had the very first shift on Thursday before a lot of people found the serving area so we didn't "sell" as much as we thought we would.

Completely agree with the above comments.  Granted, we had an unfavorable time slot  (Saturday from 10-noon), we thought the location for the Social Club was bad and seemed like an after-thought behind the expo.   I also thought Social Club should have gone right up to the Banquet time.   There was a big gap from the closing of the Expo to the start of the banquet.  Our club brought home 30 partially full kegs of beer, yet there were several times that there was no beer to be found.

Other thoughts - as everyone else has said, the sound was deplorable.   I knew right away the tall ceilings and concrete floors were going to be an issue.  It was sort of an industrial looking banquet room.     

The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

Overall great conference.  Grand Rapids was great.  My only complaints are the Social Club was a little lame, the sound, and the Club of the Year.  Everything else was fantastic.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: fatguybrew on June 16, 2014, 12:47:29 PM
I thought it was a great place and a great time. Grand Rapids is not far from Chicago and I have found a new weekened getaway spot for sure.

Club night killed it.

I thought the way the social area/ booth setup was crazy. Too close (right on top) of the expo. If someone was pouring in the expo it was hard to even get in the thing at times.

BNA9 was super fun. Kickball was a blast. With that being said, I still felt that Pro Night was missed and I am curious as to why it was left off the roster.

Brewery Vivant was my favorite place.

Cider Panels were the best and most informative. Mitch Steels botanicals and spices was a close 2nd.

Banquet Dinner was UNREAL! (If you like meat). The acoustics were so bad. Some simple drapes hanging from the rafters would help a lot. Hopefully the convention center learned from it.

The way they let us setup and breakdown club booths was so accomodating. Last years end of club nite fire drill was unfair and unexpected. Big change this year.

I didnt mind the BN winnning as a club in the beginning, but now that they are a Business first, IMO that makes them not a club. Time to explore a rule change there on what identifies you as a club.

I want to love the San Diego pick for next year, but I think it is WAY to soon to have it there again. I cant see how there isn't more cities that wouldnt line up to support this. A few that come to mind would be Dallas, Phoenix, Milliwaukee, Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, San Francisco and New Orleans. I am curios as to why San Diego got so much attention again? I do understand how the selection process works, I just find it strange that no other clubs in those cities couldnt pull this off.

All in all another Uber successful NHC. Looking forward to 2015. Cheers.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2014, 01:13:48 PM
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

Jeff - there were some second round bottles in Conf. chair's suite afterwards. I don't know why they were there, or why not outside the banquet for the hour the tap was open.

In the expo there were brewery reps pouring beer, and I talked to several I know. There must be some language that makes that OK. At the Michigan Brewers Guild Festivals, the brewers and staff are pouring beer. At local festivals they can be behind the booth,but can't pour. I will have to ask about that.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: bphad on June 16, 2014, 02:14:16 PM
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.

We sat about in the middle ... to be honest - after the meal, we left.  It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.

Really wanted to hear Jim Koch, too...

Even with that ... I still talked her into San Diego!   ;) :)

Middle was a mess for Audio

We got up and moved to the side of the room, we could hear from that point for some reason.

That was the only down point of the whole weekend for me, couldn't hear while eating the meal.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: srankert on June 16, 2014, 02:41:11 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2014, 02:49:56 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )

The banquet dinner made up for last year. A few I know went out for some food before the banquet, much to their dismay when a large fraction of a pig was on their plates. German food! Loved it.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dsmitch19 on June 16, 2014, 02:51:06 PM
Fatguybrew, we would LOVE to have NHC in Phoenix, but Phoenix in June = NO. I think it would be a nightmare with temps from 100-110 in June. Unfortunately, the timeline for NHC is not conducive to many locations as venues simple because of the weather that time of the year.

However, come out for Arizona Beer Week in February and you will be treated to wonderful weather when most of the country is dealing with the white stuff. :)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 02:56:53 PM
Yeah I agree with the criticisms that have been posted here regarding the echo in the large expo areas. 

Maybe I just had bad luck in my seminar picking skills but I had a higher percentage of 'duds' this year.  Several were basically just commercials for the pro brewery presenting with little to no insights or information given about their processes.  I don't want to specifically call out the worst by far but the presenter had basically no presentation and said he didn't understand what they were presenting... Then  just proceeded to give a lot of misinformation...

About half of the seminars I went to were great.  Specifically the Michael Tonsmeire - The Influence of Mashing on Sour Beer Production.  That was a great seminar packed with a lot of good info.

The Expo and social well area was really nice.  For the most part (excluding the BN boadcasting times) I could move around freely and speak with the vendors.  The Social wells were also very accessible.  My only regret on the social well is that I didn't make it over to the mead takeover.  I wanted to make myself available to speak with people about it as I had provided a small part of the feedback for the experiment.

I knew so many people at this year's NHC it was insane.  I felt like I couldn't walk 5 mins without running into people I knew.  I had so much fun all conference long. 
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 03:00:08 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )

The banquet dinner made up for last year. A few I know went out for some food before the banquet, much to their dismay when a large fraction of a pig was on their plates. German food! Loved it.
Yes, the food was excellent... Well all of it except that plate of radishes on the table... they seemed odd and out of place.  I noticed almost every table at the end looked like 0 radishes were eaten... Maybe he said when we was up there talking but I made out 0 of what was said.  Regardless the salad (and I'm not a salad person), main meal, and dessert were fantastic.  I was stuffed.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: udubdawg on June 16, 2014, 03:13:28 PM
a wasted member of our table showed up late.  I grabbed/ate his salad as they were going to clear the plate.  The thought of them throwing that goat cheese away was not something I was willing to chance. 

(they did bring him another salad when his drunk ass eventually stumbled in.) 
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2014, 03:47:21 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )

The banquet dinner made up for last year. A few I know went out for some food before the banquet, much to their dismay when a large fraction of a pig was on their plates. German food! Loved it.
Yes, the food was excellent... Well all of it except that plate of radishes on the table... they seemed odd and out of place.  I noticed almost every table at the end looked like 0 radishes were eaten... Maybe he said when we was up there talking but I made out 0 of what was said.  Regardless the salad (and I'm not a salad person), main meal, and dessert were fantastic.  I was stuffed.
Mike Barbalis and I dove into the radishes. They go great with Obatzda, pretzels and beer. In fact you can get a large spiral cut white radish to go along with the order of Bretzlen und Obatzda in the Munich biergartens.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 03:50:41 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )

The banquet dinner made up for last year. A few I know went out for some food before the banquet, much to their dismay when a large fraction of a pig was on their plates. German food! Loved it.
Yes, the food was excellent... Well all of it except that plate of radishes on the table... they seemed odd and out of place.  I noticed almost every table at the end looked like 0 radishes were eaten... Maybe he said when we was up there talking but I made out 0 of what was said.  Regardless the salad (and I'm not a salad person), main meal, and dessert were fantastic.  I was stuffed.
Mike Barbalis and I dove into the radishes. They go great with Obatzda, pretzels and beer. In fact you can get a large spiral cut white radish to go along with the order of Bretzlen und Obatzda in the Munich biergartens.
I bit into one towards the end of the awards because nobody at the table touched them... Regret. lol.

I also thought of another thing I didn't like too much about the banquet... The beers.. Boston Lager was the highlight as far as beers go during the meal...
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2014, 03:52:22 PM
I understand the need to make the change from Pro Night to the Welcome Reception. (I have seen Pro Night devolve into a frat party with obnoxious and disrespectful behavior towards the folks pouring.) So it was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately the execution was flawed. First, there needed to be overhead signage. The map is not helpful in a large room with few landmarks to help you get your bearings.  Two, if brewery reps are not allowed to pour,  the staff should at least be provided with sell sheets to be able to answer basic questions.

The food at the Welcome Reception was far superior and more plentiful than that served at any previous such NHC event (banquet excluded, of course). However, we do have a rather large part of the population than do not understand the difference between an appetizer spread and Golden Corral all you can eat. I saw too many folks with plates piled so high that of course there was not enough to go around. It wasn't supposed to be your dinner, pal.
Acoustics were a big issue for that event and for the banquet. Large venues with hard surfaces are a challenge. But it can be balanced, and echoing and boom can be minimized.
But otherwise, the NHC in Grand Rapids was a wonderful event. The conference center staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. The town really rolled out the red carpet for us!
And Sean Paxton knocked it out the ball park with that banquet.
Oh and the Local Committee was awesome. (Of course, I am a bit biased  :D ! )

The banquet dinner made up for last year. A few I know went out for some food before the banquet, much to their dismay when a large fraction of a pig was on their plates. German food! Loved it.
Yes, the food was excellent... Well all of it except that plate of radishes on the table... they seemed odd and out of place.  I noticed almost every table at the end looked like 0 radishes were eaten... Maybe he said when we was up there talking but I made out 0 of what was said.  Regardless the salad (and I'm not a salad person), main meal, and dessert were fantastic.  I was stuffed.
Mike Barbalis and I dove into the radishes. They go great with Obatzda, pretzels and beer. In fact you can get a large spiral cut white radish to go along with the order of Bretzlen und Obatzda in the Munich biergartens.
I bit into one towards the end of the awards because nobody at the table touched them... Regret. lol.
You are not a salad person, as you said.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 03:55:04 PM
Oh?  They were suppose to be in the salad? I guess I just wasn't sure what to do with them...and nobody else at the table could figure it out either. So I just grabbed one and bit into it like an apple.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: AmandaK on June 16, 2014, 04:07:47 PM
a wasted member of our table showed up late.  I grabbed/ate his salad as they were going to clear the plate.  The thought of them throwing that goat cheese away was not something I was willing to chance. 

(they did bring him another salad when his drunk ass eventually stumbled in.)
That guy was wildly entertaining!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: bluesman on June 16, 2014, 04:44:18 PM
Fantastic conference overall. GR is a picturesque city that is very clean and beautifully renovated. The local folks seem friendly and courteous. The host hotel was amazing and from what I heard the overflow hotels were great as well. The DuVos center was very accommodating with spacious meeting rooms and timely service, although I'll also vouch for the poor audio during the welcome reception and banquet night.

The seminars that I attended were informative and interesting. I really haven't heard any complaints. I attended 6 seminars that were all worthwhile.

I judged the National competition that went rather smoothly. The judging environment was very comfortable and the competition seemed very organized and flowed well. There were plenty of experienced judges on hand to accommodate the number of entries. Very relaxed atmosphere and a well executed competition.

The welcome reception was fun but I would like to see more brewery representation and better signage. I did get to meet one brewer.

Banquet night was a lot of fun. The food was awesome, the beer was good and the comradery was second to none. The audio was poor at best.

All in all the conference was a huge success. Hats off to the AHA staff and the local committee!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 04:53:10 PM
Fantastic conference overall. GR is a picturesque city that is very clean and beautifully renovated. The local folks seem friendly and courteous. The host hotel was amazing and from what I heard the overflow hotels were great as well. The DuVos center was very accommodating with spacious meeting rooms and timely service, although I'll also vouch for the poor audio during the welcome reception and banquet night.

The seminars that I attended were informative and interesting. I really haven't heard any complaints. I attended 6 seminars that were all worthwhile.

I judged the National competition that went rather smoothly. The judging environment was very comfortable and the competition seemed very organized and flowed well. There were plenty of experienced judges on hand to accommodate the number of entries. Very relaxed atmosphere and a well executed competition.

The welcome reception was fun but I would like to see more brewery representation and better signage. I did get to meet one brewer.

Banquet night was a lot of fun. The food was awesome, the beer was good and the comradery was second to none. The audio was poor at best.

All in all the conference was a huge success. Hats off to the AHA staff and the local committee!
Good point on the judging.  It went really smoothly I felt.  Only slight hiccup was they issues they had with the software where many judges were unassigned at the start and had to get manual assignments... Thankfully I didn't fall in to that category.  So for me apart from a slight delay at the start of judging it was all smooth sailing.  The sour ales I judged were all quite nice too.  I think I gave 3/8-9 40+
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: bluesman on June 16, 2014, 05:05:14 PM
Forgot to mention a very important point that the breweries and brewpubs are abound in this very, very fine beer city. Got to go to Hopcat Brewery, Grand Rapids Brewery, B.O.B., Brewery Vivant and Founders. All had good to great beer.

Thanks again to Crispy, Fred and crew!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: MDixon on June 16, 2014, 05:13:20 PM
Since others brought it up, the judging assignments was kinda crap.
1 - no labels - thanks for nothing - it's very minor, I brought my own, but if you can print out a sheet you can make labels.
2 - long line for judge registration - seemed completely silly. They had to mark your name off a sheet, I can mark my own name off a sheet. I skipped the line and turned in my sheet. If I passed you, I'm not sorry, I see no reason to wait in a long line when I printed my sheet ahead of time.
3 - I recruited a judge from another table so we could make four pairs. Seems odd I would have to do that. The other table had something like 12 judges and we had 7. It wasn't a big deal, but had it not happened we would have slowed in our entry judging.
4 - I heard some group of judges sent 4 beers to the mini-BOS. Really? Can you not decide on the best three beers from your flight? Are you all first time judges? (If this was you, yes I am calling you out.)
5 - I heard one group took HOURS to judge their flight. That is ridiculous. If you had two judges and 36 beers you should finish in 360 minutes. 4 judges 180 minutes, 6 judges 90 minutes, etc. (If this was you, yes I am calling you out. Speed up or let everyone know you probably should not be judging because the pyramids were built in less time.) [If I've missed some critical fact let me know, but to start judging at 9am and not finish till 1:30+ seems to indicate a problem with the judge panel.]

Positives
1 - our stewards were awesome
2 - 2nd beers from the cellar were retrieved very, very quickly
3 - plenty of cups, sheets, etc - again, our stewards were awesome
4 - no egos at our table - well, except mine
5 - our stewards were awesome ;)


Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 16, 2014, 06:02:35 PM
Since others brought it up, the judging assignments was kinda crap.
1 - no labels - thanks for nothing - it's very minor, I brought my own, but if you can print out a sheet you can make labels.
2 - long line for judge registration - seemed completely silly. They had to mark your name off a sheet, I can mark my own name off a sheet. I skipped the line and turned in my sheet. If I passed you, I'm not sorry, I see no reason to wait in a long line when I printed my sheet ahead of time.
3 - I recruited a judge from another table so we could make four pairs. Seems odd I would have to do that. The other table had something like 12 judges and we had 7. It wasn't a big deal, but had it not happened we would have slowed in our entry judging.
4 - I heard some group of judges sent 4 beers to the mini-BOS. Really? Can you not decide on the best three beers from your flight? Are you all first time judges? (If this was you, yes I am calling you out.)
5 - I heard one group took HOURS to judge their flight. That is ridiculous. If you had two judges and 36 beers you should finish in 360 minutes. 4 judges 180 minutes, 6 judges 90 minutes, etc. (If this was you, yes I am calling you out. Speed up or let everyone know you probably should not be judging because the pyramids were built in less time.) [If I've missed some critical fact let me know, but to start judging at 9am and not finish till 1:30+ seems to indicate a problem with the judge panel.]

Positives
1 - our stewards were awesome
2 - 2nd beers from the cellar were retrieved very, very quickly
3 - plenty of cups, sheets, etc - again, our stewards were awesome
4 - no egos at our table - well, except mine
5 - our stewards were awesome ;)
I did forget about the lack of labels.. It was only a minor annoyance for me.  I didn't bring any but I just pre filled out my sheets while waiting for judge assignments.

Yeah I stood in the line for a bit but then Dan came up and down the line and was grabbing the sheets from everyone... What he did fail to do after he did this was let us know we didn't need to stand in line anymore... So I proceeded to continue to stand in line lol.  A few people told me they heard it announced you didn't need to stand in line if you had the sheet.  I didn't hear it.

I didn't stick around to see anything else going on.  I didn't even talk to other tables while I was up there.  I basically just hammered out out flight and jetted.. Didn't even do mini-BOS so I can't comment on anything else. I finished right when the expo was opening and figured I would just head down there ;-)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2014, 06:20:20 PM
Since others brought it up, the judging assignments was kinda crap.
1 - no labels - thanks for nothing - it's very minor, I brought my own, but if you can print out a sheet you can make labels.
2 - long line for judge registration - seemed completely silly. They had to mark your name off a sheet, I can mark my own name off a sheet. I skipped the line and turned in my sheet. If I passed you, I'm not sorry, I see no reason to wait in a long line when I printed my sheet ahead of time.
3 - I recruited a judge from another table so we could make four pairs. Seems odd I would have to do that. The other table had something like 12 judges and we had 7. It wasn't a big deal, but had it not happened we would have slowed in our entry judging.
4 - I heard some group of judges sent 4 beers to the mini-BOS. Really? Can you not decide on the best three beers from your flight? Are you all first time judges? (If this was you, yes I am calling you out.)
5 - I heard one group took HOURS to judge their flight. That is ridiculous. If you had two judges and 36 beers you should finish in 360 minutes. 4 judges 180 minutes, 6 judges 90 minutes, etc. (If this was you, yes I am calling you out. Speed up or let everyone know you probably should not be judging because the pyramids were built in less time.) [If I've missed some critical fact let me know, but to start judging at 9am and not finish till 1:30+ seems to indicate a problem with the judge panel.]

Positives
1 - our stewards were awesome
2 - 2nd beers from the cellar were retrieved very, very quickly
3 - plenty of cups, sheets, etc - again, our stewards were awesome
4 - no egos at our table - well, except mine
5 - our stewards were awesome ;)

I heard there was a database crash in Boulder, and half the registered judges were gone. My wife asked our friend who has run comps to help the person already at the table, but only so much could be done to help the situation.

Brought leftover labels from another comp, as I have found that to be a pragmatic solution.

As to a certain well known nation judge being slow, well, we know.  ::)

Ms. R, the head steward, will appreciate your comments on the awesome stewards.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: brewmichigan on June 16, 2014, 07:09:13 PM
I'll post a few of my I observations as well. Let it 've known this was my second conference as I was in Philly last year.

Overall I thought the conference was a huge success. Every event has its hiccups and this was no exception but it was still a great event. I loved how the expo and the social club had a lot more room than last year. Made the expo much easier to get around. I also loved the beer at the expo. Having the professional brewers bring most of the beer there and serving all three days was better to me than one single night.

I didn't attend a lot of seminars since my wife came and that really wasn't here thing. Instead I took a few trips around town going to founders and Rockford brewing. All places were very accommodating and had excellent beers. I was lucky to have a vehicle there but felt GR was much easier to get around and had better breweries within walking distance than last year.

The couple things I didn't like were the after hours social well or whatever they called it. Was weird to just have thousands of people exit club night and have the social well in the lobby area of Devos center. I was expecting it to be in one of the ballrooms or somewhere else.

The banquet food was much better than last year and was very very good. Sean outdid himself this time. The beer was not as good. I was much more impressed with the offerings from rogue last year than what Sam Adams brought this year.

All in all, thought is was an A grade conference and would fully expect GR to host it again in the future. I hope to be able to get to San Diego next year as I hear it's a great beer city and wonderful weather.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 16, 2014, 09:18:31 PM
Re: the sound...if they would have flown a small line array to focus the sound it would have gone a long way.  The small JBL speakers they had distributed around the room just made things worse.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 17, 2014, 12:03:16 AM
I'll post a few of my I observations as well. Let it 've known this was my second conference as I was in Philly last year.

Overall I thought the conference was a huge success. Every event has its hiccups and this was no exception but it was still a great event. I loved how the expo and the social club had a lot more room than last year. Made the expo much easier to get around. I also loved the beer at the expo. Having the professional brewers bring most of the beer there and serving all three days was better to me than one single night.

I didn't attend a lot of seminars since my wife came and that really wasn't here thing. Instead I took a few trips around town going to founders and Rockford brewing. All places were very accommodating and had excellent beers. I was lucky to have a vehicle there but felt GR was much easier to get around and had better breweries within walking distance than last year.

The couple things I didn't like were the after hours social well or whatever they called it. Was weird to just have thousands of people exit club night and have the social well in the lobby area of Devos center. I was expecting it to be in one of the ballrooms or somewhere else.

The banquet food was much better than last year and was very very good. Sean outdid himself this time. The beer was not as good. I was much more impressed with the offerings from rogue last year than what Sam Adams brought this year.

All in all, thought is was an A grade conference and would fully expect GR to host it again in the future. I hope to be able to get to San Diego next year as I hear it's a great beer city and wonderful weather.

Except for what the locals call the June gloom. It was chilly and overcast until afternoon. I will bring a vest.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: srankert on June 17, 2014, 12:17:14 AM


Positives
1 - our stewards were awesome
2 - 2nd beers from the cellar were retrieved very, very quickly
3 - plenty of cups, sheets, etc - again, our stewards were awesome
4 - no egos at our table - well, except mine
5 - our stewards were awesome ;)
Yes, the Stewards were Amazingly Awesome!
(And they usually do it with little or no recognition or credit.)
My crew rocked!!!!
BTW, I was told (more than once) that I was "scary". But I was just trying to keep things flowing while putting out fires.
The table stewards worked their asses off.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: turkishrock on June 17, 2014, 12:49:21 AM
It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.
That was my lambic, and no, it didn't win. But thanks for the vote of confidence, and San Diego for sure...
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: fatguybrew on June 17, 2014, 01:08:06 AM
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

Jeff - there were some second round bottles in Conf. chair's suite afterwards. I don't know why they were there, or why not outside the banquet for the hour the tap was open.

In the expo there were brewery reps pouring beer, and I talked to several I know. There must be some language that makes that OK. At the Michigan Brewers Guild Festivals, the brewers and staff are pouring beer. At local festivals they can be behind the booth,but can't pour. I will have to ask about that.

I liked last year more because the entrance went through the social area, not to the side of a BN broadcast where no one could enter. But what I really ment was the after events social hour. It was just outside the halls. Having it in an area in the hotel last year worked really well I thought.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 17, 2014, 01:30:03 AM
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

Jeff - there were some second round bottles in Conf. chair's suite afterwards. I don't know why they were there, or why not outside the banquet for the hour the tap was open.

In the expo there were brewery reps pouring beer, and I talked to several I know. There must be some language that makes that OK. At the Michigan Brewers Guild Festivals, the brewers and staff are pouring beer. At local festivals they can be behind the booth,but can't pour. I will have to ask about that.

I liked last year more because the entrance went through the social area, not to the side of a BN broadcast where no one could enter. But what I really ment was the after events social hour. It was just outside the halls. Having it in an area in the hotel last year worked really well I thought.

One difference was that very few AHA events were in the Hotel(s) this year. There were 2 wedding parties in the Amway Grand on Saturday night.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 17, 2014, 01:34:42 PM
The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

I believe HBT is a registered club as is Chop and Brew.

I didnt mind the BN winnning as a club in the beginning, but now that they are a Business first, IMO that makes them not a club. Time to explore a rule change there on what identifies you as a club.

FYI.. The Brewing Network CLUB was not setup by Justin or anyone on the BN staff.  It was a BN listener that didn't have a local club near them.  I've won under the BN club before but since have joined a local club and always enter under them.  Justin accepts the award for the BN club, but has always made an effort to get those prizes out to the actually winners (he gave away a whole Lost Abbey gift set that the club won last year to the winners).

I think Club-only comp points for the first part of the year were included since they still had those comps through May/June.  I believe this is where the BN get a bunch of points.

Regardless, the rules were followed and the BN Army won fair and square.  Ask the GC to bring up the issue this year and change the rules, but you do so by alienating several members with no local club.

The booing this year was the worse it's been in the past three years.  There was more of that than people applauding.  It really is a shame, and puts a black mark on a substantial percentage of the AHA membership.

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 17, 2014, 01:45:26 PM
I'm firmly in the 'not a club' camp.  I would be fine if they changed the name to local club of the year and eliminated all these larger national/international entities.  Sure let people enter beers under them if they want but they really shouldn't be allowed to compete for the club of the year.  To me it just ruins the spirit of the award.  I would say the BN winning it every year is the black mark.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 17, 2014, 01:53:25 PM
The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

I believe HBT is a registered club as is Chop and Brew.
Quaff got close but the rumor going around was they were purposely entering in different regions so they wouldn't be competing against each other in the first round.  Also, there was a rumor (can't verify though) that they were willing to give entrants a free first year membership if they entered under QUAFF.

I didnt mind the BN winnning as a club in the beginning, but now that they are a Business first, IMO that makes them not a club. Time to explore a rule change there on what identifies you as a club.

FYI.. The Brewing Network CLUB was not setup by Justin or anyone on the BN staff.  It was a BN listener that didn't have a local club near them.  I've won under the BN club before but since have joined a local club and always enter under them.  Justin accepts the award for the BN club, but has always made an effort to get those prizes out to the actually winners (he gave away a whole Lost Abbey gift set that the club won last year to the winners).

I think Club-only comp points for the first part of the year were included since they still had those comps through May/June.  I believe this is where the BN get a bunch of points.

Regardless, the rules were followed and the BN Army won fair and square.  Ask the GC to bring up the issue this year and change the rules, but you do so by alienating several members with no local club.

The booing this year was the worse it's been in the past three years.  There was more of that than people applauding.  It really is a shame, and puts a black mark on a substantial percentage of the AHA membership.

QUAFF used to get boos, so did the St. Paul club at the end of their streak. Both had multiple Ninkasi winners in the club that helped the win. Some did not like that fact.

After the ceremony I was talking up front. Justin said QUAFF lost by 6 points. He said they should take it to the BN as next year it is on QUAFF's home court. Then Kurt Stock told Justin he was joining QUAFF next year. Zing! Kurt has a great sense of humor, said that if you don't know him.

I agree that BN won fair and square under the rules that take virtual clubs into account.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 17, 2014, 01:59:07 PM
Oh for sure there was not cheating or anything like that.  It was a fair win.  I just don't agree with the rules as they stand.  I think it just takes some of the fun out of the award.  I could see the other really big clubs also winning it over and over... but at least you kind of know what you're up against vs some big virtual monster that can have all sorts of random amounts of people entering. 
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 17, 2014, 02:54:46 PM
Maybe they need an Internet Club of The Year award...they could call it "The Al Gore" :D
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: udubdawg on June 17, 2014, 03:05:43 PM
in 1997 my club (formerly known as Derby Brew Club) won COTY with less than 20 members.  That was a different time, that is for sure...

This year we finished a very close second place for Gambrinus, which while not a perfect award, IMO does a better job of showing quality of a club's brewers.  After working for years to get club members to brew/enter NHC again, I'd have been way more proud of that than any individual awards.  Oh well - maybe next year.

anyway...

arrived in Michigan on Monday.  Had some mousy cider.  Bought a bottle on reputation without trying it that now I find out is full of rodent too.  Clean it up Greg...

Tuesday I went to Siciliano's to beat the rush, spent a ton of time at Founders, and went to the Brewery Vivant beer dinner - nothing but great things to say about any of those places, as usual.  Wish I could have taken the cider exam but dinner was calling.

Wednesday mead exam, bacon and beer brunch, and BJCP reception.  Schramm's Black Agnes and Gary Awdey's cider presentation were highlights.  Conference registration was a breeze.

Thursday judging.  Sending the form ahead of time was a good idea.  Sending it Wednesday when I couldn't print it out (I'm like the last guy without a smart phone) was not.  Poor communication on the necessity of the line, and other things already mentioned and not worth rehashing.
Judged Light Lagers.  All solid to very good beers, with a few of the usual 1C/1D efforts masquerading as 1A/1B.  I was pleased there were 4 teams judging the Finals categories this year; too many Final Round entries for 3 teams.
Martin, we'd love it if you would speed it up...
Judged Trad meads in the afternoon.  Learning experience, but I did push the silver medal.  Great take on Sage Blossom.  Someone gave me a sample of the gold medal Perry; at that point I knew there was a spare bottle of my cider, so I retrieved it and gave it to Gary Awdey to rip apart at his leisure.  Ya can't miss an opportunity to get feedback from someone like that.

I agree that people were a bit ridiculous with the Opening Toast snacks piled high, but really, what did you think would happen?  A few thousand hungry overweight guys in one room with a bunch of decent beer?

As others stated, vertical signage is a must.  Too hard to find beers, and the layout made little sense.  Crowded too, but at least there were tables to rest at.  As bad as the sound was, I didn't come out of there with a noise-induced headache like after Pro Night in Philly, at least...
Overall, I didn't mind the change, but Pro Night was often my favorite event from a quality and I-haven't-had-it-before standpoint, and this was not the same.

Too tired for ballpark; went out to dinner w/o beer as I did most nights.  I was pleased with the restaurants in the area in terms of selection, quality, and price.

Really enjoyed the cider seminars on Friday.  I know San Diego isn't the cider center that Michigan is, but I still hope we get a decent number of these next year too.  The cider tap takeover was great although I know several people who missed it as they were told it started at 3.  Not sure who was giving out the misinformation.

Helped KCBM pour on Friday, though I only poured like 4 beers and mostly just hung out and served a few bottles of my stuff.  I'd like to think I didn't get in the way that much.  Thanks for the shirt AmandaK!  Charlie stopped by the booth; Amanda does Crane know Prez Papazian has had his beet beer?  Can't believe I missed the opportunity to pour something of my own for him! 
Let's get the ice to the clubs sooner though, eh?  Next time the conference center will know that we need a lot...

The Saturday morning sour beer, new hops, and understanding honey seminars were really really fantastic.  Appreciated the mead tap takeover in the social club; I want to see more of this kind of thing. 

Missed the BJCP guidelines presentation to get more sour mead; looking forward to seeing the changes.

Wow, long line for the banquet.  I'd like to thank High Gravity for letting a few of us Wichita people sit at their sponsor table again or we'd have been in the back row.

tschmidlin sat with us too and used profanity to describe the cider I poured for him...in a good way.  8)

was prepared to be underwhelmed by the food, but it was great.  really great.  Thanks to forum member braufessor who gave me the bottle of Raspberry Berliner weisse that I shared with the table.  Great stuff!

Sound was bad, but I was close enough to read the names at least.  And also, no matter how you feel about TBN winning COTY, I have to thank them for letting my family have a chance to see me walk across the stage.

as others have asked, where were the leftover competition bottles?  rooting through them is one of my favorite things!

met some of the wedding party in the Amway on Sat. night.  guys who were REALLY tired of champagne and wish they'd skipped out.  I hope at least one of us drunks got into the background of the wedding photos, hehehe...

Overall I met a ton of you guys.  Only a couple I regret.  ;)

I'll save specifics about the competition for another thread later this summer.

see you in cloudy San Diego!
--Michael


Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: reverseapachemaster on June 17, 2014, 03:13:25 PM
I want to love the San Diego pick for next year, but I think it is WAY to soon to have it there again. I cant see how there isn't more cities that wouldnt line up to support this. A few that come to mind would be Dallas, Phoenix, Milliwaukee, Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, San Francisco and New Orleans. I am curios as to why San Diego got so much attention again? I do understand how the selection process works, I just find it strange that no other clubs in those cities couldnt pull this off.

As much as I would love a local NHC here in Dallas I couldn't see it going off very well. June in Dallas can be in the upper 90s. This year it has been surprisingly cool but the last several years were hot and disgustingly humid. Our traffic is awful, public transportation is minimal and everything is spread out. We don't have that many local breweries yet so your options to explore beyond the conference are minimal. If you are willing to tolerate everything else I said then Austin would be your better option. Far more breweries but about the same weather and traffic.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Stevie on June 17, 2014, 03:48:16 PM
+1 Austin is a better choice. Would be funny to see the bars on dirty 6th filled with all the old timers.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 17, 2014, 03:51:27 PM
A few people liked the early morning running tours of GR. I am not a runner, I just heard about it.

Did anyone take the bus tours to breweries? I didn't have time for those. Interested if they were good.

Austin would be fun, but it only has the one commuter train, and I have never used the bus system there. I stay away from 6th street, as I am way too old for those shenanigans.



Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 17, 2014, 04:09:10 PM
I was talking with one guy at the airport and he said he bus tour driver didn't seem to know where he was going.  There was one point they came to an overpass but the bus couldn't go under, so he had them walk a half mile to the brew pub (supposed to go to the production brewery) while he found a way around.

I attended the Brewery Vivant dinner, which was pretty good from a food stand point and excellent from the beer side (many Red Coq jokes all night long).

I also attended the Bacon and Beer brunch, which I felt was a little underwhelming.  It was nice to have a small group chat with the like of John Palmer and Ken Schramm, but I would have liked to see more bacon.  Even one of the guys from AIH thought the bacon was lacking and they setup the event.

The BN party was fun (I hope John Palmer didn't break something on that tumble to first).  I had the VIP, which was ok for the money and included a shirt (which I always buy anyways)...although I got to try a couple beers I've never had before that weren't on the field.  One beer I had to dump (Train Wreck...undrinkable.  Hopefully it didn't kill any grass).

We got to "Pro-Night" about a 1/2 hour late, so we missed the opening speech (which a friend of ours said it was like listening to Charlie Brown's teacher) and all the food was gone except some chips (no cheese). 

Club night was awesome as always, with my best favorite beers being F$%* your Face, and a Flanders Red at the Daniel Fick's booth.  Hung out with the Red Ledge Brewers for a while since the VP is someone we communicate with on Twitter and the BN constantly...even got a t-shirt and a growler.

The banquet was great, but yes the sound sucked.  Worst thing I saw...when they started letting people in, someone dropped their tote bag full of beer and smashed them...I felt bad.  At least the concrete floor makes for an easy cleanup. 

I like the ticket line so there weren't 1500 people all being let in a once and causing a stampede, like in Philly.  That was a big, hot, sweaty mess. 

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Jimmy K on June 17, 2014, 06:45:05 PM
A few people liked the early morning running tours of GR. I am not a runner, I just heard about it.
Damn! We're runners and did not hear about the running tours. I wanted to go on the pedal pub crawl, but didn't have time.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: AmandaK on June 17, 2014, 07:12:11 PM
Has there been any chatter about doing Club of the Year like GABF does Brewery of the Year?

Having 'Small Club of the Year', Mid size Club', 'Large Club' and what have you would surely calm a good number of boos. Plus, it would give tiny clubs with really good brewers something to shoot for.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: msbrew on June 17, 2014, 07:14:04 PM

Having 'Small Club of the Year', Mid size Club', 'Large Club' and what have you would surely calm a good number of boos. Plus, it would give tiny clubs with really good brewers something to shoot for.

Love that idea.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dsmitch19 on June 17, 2014, 07:43:56 PM
Has there been any chatter about doing Club of the Year like GABF does Brewery of the Year?

Having 'Small Club of the Year', Mid size Club', 'Large Club' and what have you would surely calm a good number of boos. Plus, it would give tiny clubs with really good brewers something to shoot for.

I second this as a great idea.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: msbrew on June 17, 2014, 07:50:01 PM
This was my first NHC. I was blown away and will definitely attend again.

So many great seminar topics and I'm looking forward to the audio for the ones I could not attend.

I volunteered as a steward. Really did have a blast doing that. There was some confusion for me as I'm standing in line clueless for the check-in table. The guy walks down the line collecting our papers. I stepped out of line along with all the others around me assuming they only wanted the paper, not knowing (until right before judging started) that I really needed to visit that table to get my category assignment. Oh well, it worked out.

One regret I have now is not coming in a day or two early to visit the GR-area brewing scene.  Not much time to do so once the conf got rolling. I did get to visit Hopcat and Founders, both incredible places.

Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.

The dinner was fantastic. Good choice of beers with dinner.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Jimmy K on June 17, 2014, 07:59:56 PM
Has there been any chatter about doing Club of the Year like GABF does Brewery of the Year?

Having 'Small Club of the Year', Mid size Club', 'Large Club' and what have you would surely calm a good number of boos. Plus, it would give tiny clubs with really good brewers something to shoot for.

I second this as a great idea.
I'd say 'National Club' (pulling members nationwide), 'Small Club' (fewer than X members), and 'Regional Club' (large clubs that are not national).
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: guido on June 17, 2014, 08:20:01 PM
A few people liked the early morning running tours of GR. I am not a runner, I just heard about it.

Did anyone take the bus tours to breweries? I didn't have time for those. Interested if they were good.

Austin would be fun, but it only has the one commuter train, and I have never used the bus system there. I stay away from 6th street, as I am way too old for those shenanigans.

I took the 131 tour on Tuesday and the Premier tour on Wednesday.  They were enjoyable.  I was worried since food and beer weren't included (we did get some free tastings), but it wasn't too expensive since we only stayed at each place long enough for a few beers.  Good times.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 17, 2014, 08:25:01 PM

Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.


I had made arrangements to share a cab with bosoxbrent and when we were taking a picture of the Welcome banner at the airport, a couple other guys asked if we wanted to share a cab, so it was $10 each.  Nice that MI doesn't allow them to up the fare for addition passengers.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: AmandaK on June 17, 2014, 08:25:36 PM
Has there been any chatter about doing Club of the Year like GABF does Brewery of the Year?

Having 'Small Club of the Year', Mid size Club', 'Large Club' and what have you would surely calm a good number of boos. Plus, it would give tiny clubs with really good brewers something to shoot for.

I second this as a great idea.
I'd say 'National Club' (pulling members nationwide), 'Small Club' (fewer than X members), and 'Regional Club' (large clubs that are not national).

Perhaps some AHA GC contacting is in order... however the names split up would be fine, but continuing to have what is essentially "The Biggest Club of the Year" award and the "Best Winning %" Award while changing the entry limits and such will likely have some interesting outcomes.

I'm wondering how many clubs are banding together and forming 'super-mega-clubs' for next year.

I thought KCBM gave Radegast a good run this year... turns out we were $74,000 short on charity fundraising!  :o
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 17, 2014, 08:30:11 PM
I thought KCBM gave Radegast a good run this year... turns out we were $74,000 short on charity fundraising!  :o

That's insane the amount of money they raised.  A guy at my table said the AHA should charge $1 extra per person and funnel all that money into the Radegast charity contribution.  So instead of $500, they could donate $3-$4k.  I know the conference fee is steep already, but $1 for charity is nothing.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Jimmy K on June 17, 2014, 08:39:50 PM
The guys from Grand Rapids Brewery Tours were driving people around the city in their van for tips. They gave us a ride to Brewery Vivant and picked us up a few hours later. They were very cool! Our friends found them - I think they were just hanging out by one of the hotels looking for people who wanted to go somewhere. Said they were just looking for publicity.
 
I'd post a link if I could find one.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: pmcgrew on June 17, 2014, 10:55:47 PM
I've noticed several people asking about the lack of final round beers on Saturday evening. Most of my club didn't have tickets for the banquet, but we wandered back over specifically to try and hunt down my beer and two others from my club that made the final round. We asked one of the AHA staff and he was surprised they weren't out and left to go check on it. He came back and said it was because of Michigan laws and all the beers would likely be disposed of. I cringed at the thought of that many bottles going to waste, but if it really was laws, not much you can do. Shrug.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: udubdawg on June 17, 2014, 11:04:05 PM
I've noticed several people asking about the lack of final round beers on Saturday evening. Most of my club didn't have tickets for the banquet, but we wandered back over specifically to try and hunt down my beer and two others from my club that made the final round. We asked one of the AHA staff and he was surprised they weren't out and left to go check on it. He came back and said it was because of Michigan laws and all the beers would likely be disposed of. I cringed at the thought of that many bottles going to waste, but if it really was laws, not much you can do. Shrug.

I cringe at the thought of the third bottle of Doug Karp's silver medal cream ale being poured out.  And 55 other medal winners.  Ugh.
curious what is against the law - us taking bottles, or us opening bottles?  How were we able to legally open the ones in the competition?  Hmm...
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: guido on June 18, 2014, 03:14:48 AM

Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.



I wasn't keen on dropping a Benjamin for cab fares for the week.  I tried my best to suck it up and be a man with no whining.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: mklawz on June 18, 2014, 03:44:28 AM
Believe me, I've emailed the folks at the AHA about the BN thing.  (I also voiced my opinion to them back in 2011 when they won in San Diego too).   I haven't received a response yet.

My email to them the other day is this....

Gary - great conference.  Thanks for putting on an event for our crazy community of homebrewers!   Everything was great, and Grand Rapids was a great location for the conference.   The hotels and breweries were within walking distance, what else could you ask for?!

My only complaint is this whole Brewing Network thing as COTY.  To be blunt, it's shocking and disappointing that the AHA allows this. I dont use their site or listen to their broadcasts (I'm all forum'd out after years of participation),   but I understand they are a valuable resource.    But they simply are not a homebrew club in the traditional sense.     If local homebrew clubs could recruit across the country I'm sure they would score more points too.  But they can't because they are local homebrew clubs!   
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 18, 2014, 12:08:57 PM
Believe me, I've emailed the folks at the AHA about the BN thing.  (I also voiced my opinion to them back in 2011 when they won in San Diego too).   I haven't received a response yet.

My email to them the other day is this....

Gary - great conference.  Thanks for putting on an event for our crazy community of homebrewers!   Everything was great, and Grand Rapids was a great location for the conference.   The hotels and breweries were within walking distance, what else could you ask for?!

My only complaint is this whole Brewing Network thing as COTY.  To be blunt, it's shocking and disappointing that the AHA allows this. I dont use their site or listen to their broadcasts (I'm all forum'd out after years of participation),   but I understand they are a valuable resource.    But they simply are not a homebrew club in the traditional sense.     If local homebrew clubs could recruit across the country I'm sure they would score more points too.  But they can't because they are local homebrew clubs!   

I sense an AHA survey in our future...

I'd be curious to see the rosters of the local clubs to see if all their members are local.  Looking through the first round results, I saw a member of QUAFF who lives in AZ.  Not exactly local but not nothing their situation, I cannot pass judgement.  And let's not bring up the whole Gordon Strong/St. Paul B.S...I never had a problem with that.  I'm pretty sure I could become a member of DOZE or QUAFF if I paid my dues.  Again, I've entered under the BN before when I wasn't part of a club, but now I enter under my local club even though I know we'll never get COTY (I'm the only one who enters Nationals on a regular basis).

If they decide (hopefully by getting input from the members and not making some totalitarian decision) to disqualify the web-based clubs, they will make changes to the COTY award so it doesn't become the QUAFF/DOZE/STPAUL award every year.

Also, you need to remember that the Brewing Network and The Brewing Network Club are totally separate.  Yes, the BN gets the recognition and the grief, but it is a separate entity, not controlled by Justin or the BN staff.  And by disqualifying them, you also need to disqualify "club" like Chop and Brew and Homebrewtalk.

I wonder if the AHA can do an analysis of the points earned by each club to see where they came from.   Since the Club-Only comps are no longer included after this year, I wonder if that's where the BN got a lot of their points.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Stevie on June 18, 2014, 12:19:40 PM

I'd be curious to see the rosters of the local clubs to see if all their members are local.  Looking through the first round results, I saw a member of QUAFF who lives in AZ.  Not exactly local but not nothing their situation, I cannot pass judgement.

2,000 miles and 2 years later, I still belong to my old club.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: klickitat jim on June 18, 2014, 12:34:50 PM
Read this whole thread. Decided to go to Montana on the Hog instead of San Diego next year.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 18, 2014, 01:13:04 PM
Read this whole thread. Decided to go to Montana on the Hog instead of San Diego next year.
Bummer because it was a blast.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Jimmy K on June 18, 2014, 01:52:56 PM
Read this whole thread. Decided to go to Montana on the Hog instead of San Diego next year.
Bummer because it was a blast.
NHC is great. Reading too much into complaints would be not seeing the beer through the barley. ;)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: kramerog on June 18, 2014, 01:56:49 PM
Re: the sound...if they would have flown a small line array to focus the sound it would have gone a long way.  The small JBL speakers they had distributed around the room just made things worse.

One person reoriented one of the JBL speakers apparently because it was too loud for him as he was sitting next to it.  For most of the Banquet, I couldn't understand a thing; all I could here was echoes.  When the speaker was reoriented, I could suddenly understand everything.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 18, 2014, 02:33:45 PM
Believe me, I've emailed the folks at the AHA about the BN thing.  (I also voiced my opinion to them back in 2011 when they won in San Diego too).   I haven't received a response yet.

My email to them the other day is this....

Gary - great conference.  Thanks for putting on an event for our crazy community of homebrewers!   Everything was great, and Grand Rapids was a great location for the conference.   The hotels and breweries were within walking distance, what else could you ask for?!

My only complaint is this whole Brewing Network thing as COTY.  To be blunt, it's shocking and disappointing that the AHA allows this. I dont use their site or listen to their broadcasts (I'm all forum'd out after years of participation),   but I understand they are a valuable resource.    But they simply are not a homebrew club in the traditional sense.     If local homebrew clubs could recruit across the country I'm sure they would score more points too.  But they can't because they are local homebrew clubs!   

I sense an AHA survey in our future...

I'd be curious to see the rosters of the local clubs to see if all their members are local.  Looking through the first round results, I saw a member of QUAFF who lives in AZ.  Not exactly local but not nothing their situation, I cannot pass judgement.  And let's not bring up the whole Gordon Strong/St. Paul B.S...I never had a problem with that.  I'm pretty sure I could become a member of DOZE or QUAFF if I paid my dues.  Again, I've entered under the BN before when I wasn't part of a club, but now I enter under my local club even though I know we'll never get COTY (I'm the only one who enters Nationals on a regular basis).

If they decide (hopefully by getting input from the members and not making some totalitarian decision) to disqualify the web-based clubs, they will make changes to the COTY award so it doesn't become the QUAFF/DOZE/STPAUL award every year.

Also, you need to remember that the Brewing Network and The Brewing Network Club are totally separate.  Yes, the BN gets the recognition and the grief, but it is a separate entity, not controlled by Justin or the BN staff.  And by disqualifying them, you also need to disqualify "club" like Chop and Brew and Homebrewtalk.

I wonder if the AHA can do an analysis of the points earned by each club to see where they came from.   Since the Club-Only comps are no longer included after this year, I wonder if that's where the BN got a lot of their points.
Talking to Gordon some years back, he said he was in Minneapolis/St. Paul once a month for a business trip, and started going to the St. Paul clubs meeting. Then Kurt Stock said if you are going to hang around with us you need to compete with us.

Jamil competed with Quaff, even though his address was near Sacramento, which is not exactly close to SD.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 18, 2014, 02:34:38 PM
Read this whole thread. Decided to go to Montana on the Hog instead of San Diego next year.

If you're serious, then you're really misinterpreting the comments here.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 18, 2014, 02:40:37 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: ajk on June 18, 2014, 02:48:17 PM

Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Not I, some increased seasonal allergy symptoms, I guess from all the pollen up there.

I'm amazed I didn't catch something from Ken Schramm's honey-tasting seminar. :-)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 18, 2014, 02:53:30 PM
Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.

In my humble opinion, a good public transportation system should be a requirement for hosting NHC from this point forward.  The better part of a c-note is too much for ground transportation to and from the airport. One can ride the light rail from BWI Airport to downtown Baltimore for a few dollars.

Quote
The dinner was fantastic. Good choice of beers with dinner.

Note to self:  You do not eat pork, diary, or eggs; therefore, order a special entree, salad, and dessert next time. 

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: morticaixavier on June 18, 2014, 02:54:34 PM
Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.

In my humble opinion, a good public transportation system should be a requirement for hosting NHC from this point forward.  The better part of a c-note is too much for ground transportation to and from the airport. One can ride the light rail from BWI Airport to downtown Baltimore for a few dollars.

Quote
The dinner was fantastic. Good choice of beers with dinner.

Note to self:  You do not eat pork, diary, or eggs; therefore, order a special entree, salad, and dessert next time.

ahh the joys of restricted diets. I feel your pain
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 18, 2014, 02:54:52 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Yup...soar throat, then sinus congestion/infection.  Yesterday was the worse but ears are still plugged up.

Hey...I think I shook your hand at club night...thanks a lot dkfick  ;)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: klickitat jim on June 18, 2014, 03:10:50 PM
Ok, I'll keep an open mind. I dont have to decide until November (vacation bidding)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: udubdawg on June 18, 2014, 03:32:54 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Yup...soar throat, then sinus congestion/infection.  Yesterday was the worse but ears are still plugged up.

Hey...I think I shook your hand at club night...thanks a lot dkfick  ;)

post NHC 2013 and 2012 are by far the sickest I've been in a couple decades.  I was pretty wary about glass sharing this time, and have thus far avoided illness...

anyone remember that suspect glass rinser in the social club in Philly? 
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Stevie on June 18, 2014, 03:44:00 PM
Illness after conferences is not uncommon. Few years back there was a hefty number of swine flu cases traced backed to PAX Con (Penney arcade expo) in Seattle.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 18, 2014, 03:46:37 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Yup...soar throat, then sinus congestion/infection.  Yesterday was the worse but ears are still plugged up.

Hey...I think I shook your hand at club night...thanks a lot dkfick  ;)
haha yep.  I can't remember which beer I poured down your gullet though ;-)  I don't think my Xmas beer was on so if it was mine it would have been the cask bitter.  Nice to put a face to the name.  Still bummed I skipped the meet and greet.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 18, 2014, 03:49:18 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.
Yup...soar throat, then sinus congestion/infection.  Yesterday was the worse but ears are still plugged up.

Hey...I think I shook your hand at club night...thanks a lot dkfick  ;)
Yeah I don't normally get sick but like once every couple years... but I'm pretty messed up right now lol.  I didn't do glass sharing so all I can really think of is the pitchers of water... or just having to talk to people with our faces closer due to general loudness at the expo etc...

post NHC 2013 and 2012 are by far the sickest I've been in a couple decades.  I was pretty wary about glass sharing this time, and have thus far avoided illness...

anyone remember that suspect glass rinser in the social club in Philly?
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 18, 2014, 04:09:14 PM
I just have the usual June allergy issues.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: bluesman on June 18, 2014, 04:33:24 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.

Fortunately, I didn't get sick after coming home from the conference on Sunday. I actually feel good today.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: denny on June 18, 2014, 04:37:11 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.

Yeah, I do and Janis has said that she does also.  And I leave for a week in NY tomorrow....:(
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 18, 2014, 04:38:28 PM
Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.

In my humble opinion, a good public transportation system should be a requirement for hosting NHC from this point forward.  The better part of a c-note is too much for ground transportation to and from the airport. One can ride the light rail from BWI Airport to downtown Baltimore for a few dollars.

Quote
The dinner was fantastic. Good choice of beers with dinner.

Note to self:  You do not eat pork, diary, or eggs; therefore, order a special entree, salad, and dessert next time.
You can request the vegetarian meal on the spot if you can't/don't like the meat dish.  My girlfriend did this in Seattle since she doesn't like fish (worst Inuit ever).  Switching to the vegetarian dish even netted her some one on one Sean Paxton time since not many people ordered it and he wanted to discuss it with her.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 18, 2014, 05:26:19 PM
Dislike = The $40 cab ride from the airport to JW Marriott.

In my humble opinion, a good public transportation system should be a requirement for hosting NHC from this point forward.  The better part of a c-note is too much for ground transportation to and from the airport. One can ride the light rail from BWI Airport to downtown Baltimore for a few dollars.

Quote
The dinner was fantastic. Good choice of beers with dinner.

Note to self:  You do not eat pork, diary, or eggs; therefore, order a special entree, salad, and dessert next time.
You can request the vegetarian meal on the spot if you can't/don't like the meat dish.  My girlfriend did this in Seattle since she doesn't like fish (worst Inuit ever).  Switching to the vegetarian dish even netted her some one on one Sean Paxton time since not many people ordered it and he wanted to discuss it with her.

Unfortunately, several people did this and someone at our table who ordered the vegetarian meal had to wait 45 minutes for them to go back to the hotel, make more and return to the banquet hall.  She wasn't the only one either...there were a few at the tables behind us.We asked Sean about it and he said they made an extra 30 plates for this.  I hate to say it but if you want to switch, I think the people who ordered should be served first then give the option to the others.  I don't know how soon Sean knows what his menu is, but I would like to see it announced with enough time so a change could be made.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: spaterson on June 18, 2014, 07:21:26 PM
I'm finally recovering from the road trip (8 days AZ to Michigan w/ three per night brewery/brewpub stops) and the great time I had at NHC 2014.  It was my first, but definitely not my last!  People in Grand Rapids were great, and hats off to all the local AHA members in Grand Rapids as well as the AHA in Boulder for putting on a great show for us.

What I liked ... well just about everything, but my highlights were ...  Rubbing elbows with some of the well know brewers and names in homebrewing. The training sessions; "no I have no desire to start licking certain parts of my body, but I will definitely try a decoction mash very soon".  Those who attended the Long Live Lager session and Debunking Decoction session know what I mean.  Being a steward at the competition was a great experience for me, and thanks for the previous comments thanking us that do steward!  We actually really enjoy helping out.  Club night, Club night, Club night!  And finally, the banquet and the anticipation of them calling my name for a medal in Euro Amber Lagers.  It didn't happen this year, but it was quite a ride getting a gold in the first round and the possibility for medal in the final round.  My goals have been reset for San Diego.

Most of what I didn't like has already been posted, but I might add the following. It would have been nice to have a little more ventilation running in some of the larger attended sessions.  Maybe it was post club night, or lunch, or just getting burnt out( 8 day road trip), but Gordon Strong and Randy Mosher were putting out some great info Saturday afternoon, but I swear, I was nodding off and missed something. When do those recorded sessions come out?

Can't wait for 2015 and San Diego, it probably won't be a 8 day road trip next year, but just as much fun.

Oh and did I mention the Ninkasi winner, Jeremy Voeltz, was from our club in AZ, Arizona Society of Homebrewers,(ASH).  Talk about a great time, we from ASH loved it!  We will try for a repeat next year!!!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 18, 2014, 07:44:23 PM
Oh, one other thing that came to mind and seems insignificant but really helped, was the willingness of the volunteers to pass the pitcher of beer during the talks down the row, rather than trying to pour everyone's sample for them.  In Philly, I missed a ton of samples that were geared toward the talks because I was seated in the middle of the row, and they couldn't get to us easily.  I also didn't want to trip over everyone and disrupt the seminar to get the sample.  Maybe it was a PA law or something, but passing it down the row and having it come back the other was perfect.

Cheers to the volunteers for getting the beer out quickly, during the Long Liver Lagers session where they had to pour 3 different samples!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 18, 2014, 08:34:06 PM
You can request the vegetarian meal on the spot if you can't/don't like the meat dish.  My girlfriend did this in Seattle since she doesn't like fish (worst Inuit ever).  Switching to the vegetarian dish even netted her some one on one Sean Paxton time since not many people ordered it and he wanted to discuss it with her.

The number of last minute alternate meal requests resulted in long waiting periods for those who chose the alternate meal because the NHC chefs severely underestimated the number of people who would not eat the main entree.  I did not get my meal until my table was well into dessert, and, for a while, it looked like I was going to go hungry because I could not eat the salad or the dessert.  I had assumed that I would not be able to eat the dessert due to the inclusion of diary and eggs.  However, I did not assume I would not be able to  eat the salad due to the inclusion of diary (salad is usually a vegan food safety net).

In my humble opinion, pork and seafood are poor choices as entrees, especially when attendees will not know what is being served until the day of the banquet.  Besides people like me who live a mostly vegan lifestyle, but who resort to limited pollo-pescetarianism as a food safety net while away from home (poulty is a banquet staple), there are plenty of people who do not eat pork or shellfish on religious grounds.  The AHA needs to consider making the banquet menu available upon request before registration. They also need to put serious though into including a true vegan meal option that includes a dessert and a salad that does not contain eggs, dairy, meat, or animal byproducts (e.g., gelatin is an animal byproduct). 
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: udubdawg on June 18, 2014, 10:15:18 PM
we knew the menu days in advance last year, but certainly way past registration time.  I really enjoyed this year's menu but feel the pain of those on other diets.  I hope more accommodations for these people can be made.

is there any etiquette on not attending the banquet, but walking in at the start of the awards ceremony and waiting to see if your name is called for a medal?  There seems to be plenty of empty seats at that point...

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: klickitat jim on June 18, 2014, 11:46:50 PM
Pork AND shellfish? Hmmm, might have to rethink ditching SD for Montana. Probably id get there and they'd serve sprouts n gravel though... Dang choices!

Just FYI, they served mac n cheese with burger where I was that night, which was rancho klickitat, and the cook was some fat guy who worked all day.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 18, 2014, 11:53:24 PM
Pork AND shellfish? Hmmm, might have to rethink ditching SD for Montana. Probably id get there and they'd serve sprouts n gravel though... Dang choices!

Just FYI, they served mac n cheese with burger where I was that night, which was rancho klickitat, and the cook was some fat guy who worked all day.

Grand Rapids was very German/Austrian on the main course. Pork hock, a wurst, sauerkraut, and a dumpling for starch. Since I am German heritage and lived in the Vaterland, it hit the spot. No shellfish at this one.

There were German biergarten type snacks on the table too. Pretzels, Obatzda, Radi. I loved it. It was not for all as stated above.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: beerocd on June 19, 2014, 12:40:00 AM
Wouldn't the religious non-pork eater also likely be a religious non-drinker and therefore not at the event to complain about the food?  Just sayin'.
For the money, I suppose there should be alternatives but at what point do you cut off the accommodations? How many choices should there be? There's quite a few allergies out there,  if you create a single meal to avoid everything,  you get pretty close to nothing.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: klickitat jim on June 19, 2014, 12:47:07 AM
Pork AND shellfish? Hmmm, might have to rethink ditching SD for Montana. Probably id get there and they'd serve sprouts n gravel though... Dang choices!

Just FYI, they served mac n cheese with burger where I was that night, which was rancho klickitat, and the cook was some fat guy who worked all day.

Grand Rapids was very German/Austrian on the main course. Pork hock, a wurst, sauerkraut, and a dumpling for starch. Since I am German heritage and lived in the Vaterland, it hit the spot. No shellfish at this one.

There were German biergarten type snacks on the table too. Pretzels, Obatzda, Radi. I loved it. It was not for all as stated above.

Schweinshauxe!!!! A 2 pounder and a liter of Oktoberfest and I'm in heaven! Finish the night with a Berlinerweiss and a shot of Peppermint Schnapps and its even better
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: HoosierBrew on June 19, 2014, 12:53:48 AM
Love some German food. I'm sure it was a blast.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 19, 2014, 02:44:15 AM
Wouldn't the religious non-pork eater also likely be a religious non-drinker and therefore not at the event to complain about the food?

Do you have any Jewish friends?  Observant Jews drink, but they do not eat pork or shellfish.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 19, 2014, 02:47:10 AM
Wouldn't the religious non-pork eater also likely be a religious non-drinker and therefore not at the event to complain about the food?

Do you have any Jewish friends?  Observant Jews drink, but they do not eat pork or shellfish.
The Jewish person at our table drinks alcohol. But then again she eats pork. She admits that she is not observant.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 19, 2014, 12:33:07 PM
is there any etiquette on not attending the banquet, but walking in at the start of the awards ceremony and waiting to see if your name is called for a medal?  There seems to be plenty of empty seats at that point...

I see no problem with it, especially if you have entries in the second round.  I think the AHA likes to have the people there to accept the awards.  Just don't drink our beer you freeloader.  ;D

Congrats on your 1 1/2 medals!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Jimmy K on June 19, 2014, 01:22:28 PM
is there any etiquette on not attending the banquet, but walking in at the start of the awards ceremony and waiting to see if your name is called for a medal?  There seems to be plenty of empty seats at that point...

I see no problem with it, especially if you have entries in the second round.  I think the AHA likes to have the people there to accept the awards.  Just don't drink our beer you freeloader.  ;D

Congrats on your 1 1/2 medals!
We did this. We wanted more time to explore Grand Rapids but later had an entry get into the final round. So we just kept an eye on the BN broadcast, headed over when the awards started and stood on the side. There was security, but at that point they were just checking that everyone was a conference attendee. Lots of people were heading in/out of the hall.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: jeffy on June 19, 2014, 09:19:09 PM
(http://<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://s875.photobucket.com/user/jeffyspictures/embed/slideshow/NHC%202014"></iframe>)

I am going to try to post a few photos from NHC here.

Well that didn't work.  Maybe I chose "slideshow" by mistake.
(http://[URL=http://s875.photobucket.com/user/jeffyspictures/media/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg.html][IMG]http://i875.photobucket.com/albums/ab318/jeffyspictures/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg)[/URL][/img]

I will try once more.
(http://[URL=http://s875.photobucket.com/user/jeffyspictures/media/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg.html][IMG]http://i875.photobucket.com/albums/ab318/jeffyspictures/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg)[/URL]["/img]
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: morticaixavier on June 19, 2014, 10:24:20 PM
(http://i875.photobucket.com/albums/ab318/jeffyspictures/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg)



here you go
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: jeffy on June 19, 2014, 10:42:21 PM
(http://i875.photobucket.com/albums/ab318/jeffyspictures/NHC%202014/GrandRapids2014019_zps1c747973.jpg)



here you go

Thanks, Mort.  I have some more, but need to relearn how to do it.
That's Denny, Drew, Tom, Martin and Janis at club night.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: guido on June 20, 2014, 09:02:19 AM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.

I was fine.  I did talk to you for several minutes during Club Night.  I was more concerned about the crowds at the airport.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: guido on June 20, 2014, 09:08:35 AM
Wouldn't the religious non-pork eater also likely be a religious non-drinker and therefore not at the event to complain about the food?  Just sayin'.
For the money, I suppose there should be alternatives but at what point do you cut off the accommodations? How many choices should there be? There's quite a few allergies out there,  if you create a single meal to avoid everything,  you get pretty close to nothing.

With all the dietary restrictions and individual tastes, it's an impossible task to accommodate everyone at such a big banquet.  People are going to have to accept that.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: brewmichigan on June 20, 2014, 02:29:14 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.

I was fine.  I did talk to you for several minutes during Club Night.  I was more concerned about the crowds at the airport.

I feel like I got lucky. Stayed away from glass sharing as much as I could and I even traveled around with two sickies for most of the event. The only issue I had was not wanting any beer for about 3 days after.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 20, 2014, 07:37:11 PM
Anyone else get a really sore throat after the conference followed by sickness?  Seems several people I know did... Someone was the Outbreak monkey this weekend.

I was fine.  I did talk to you for several minutes during Club Night.  I was more concerned about the crowds at the airport.

I feel like I got lucky. Stayed away from glass sharing as much as I could and I even traveled around with two sickies for most of the event. The only issue I had was not wanting any beer for about 3 days after.
That last one is a common NHC malady.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: wv_brewer on June 21, 2014, 03:06:12 AM
I had a great time.  It was my first.  Enjoyed almost all of it.  BNA9 party may have been my favorite part.  Did not intend to go but on the spur of the moment decided to go and had an exceptional time.  Does anyone know if there is a video of John Palmer's infamous "slide" anywhere on the net?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: brewmichigan on June 23, 2014, 02:33:24 PM
I had a great time.  It was my first.  Enjoyed almost all of it.  BNA9 party may have been my favorite part.  Did not intend to go but on the spur of the moment decided to go and had an exceptional time.  Does anyone know if there is a video of John Palmer's infamous "slide" anywhere on the net?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Chip from chop and brew has a video of it. I saw it up somewhere, maybe on the BN webpage
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 23, 2014, 02:59:22 PM
http://vimeo.com/98374600

About 37 seconds in...glad he's ok.  It looked brutal in person!
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: dkfick on June 23, 2014, 04:10:38 PM
Not sure where to post this... but noticed when going through the seminars posted that the wrong presenter is listed for "Brewing with New Hop Varieties".  It's listed as Brad Smith when it's Nathan Smith...
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: bluesman on June 23, 2014, 04:31:22 PM
Not sure where to post this... but noticed when going through the seminars posted that the wrong presenter is listed for "Brewing with New Hop Varieties".  It's listed as Brad Smith when it's Nathan Smith...

Thanks...I'll send a message to Duncan to get it corrected.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 23, 2014, 04:39:12 PM
Not sure where to post this... but noticed when going through the seminars posted that the wrong presenter is listed for "Brewing with New Hop Varieties".  It's listed as Brad Smith when it's Nathan Smith...

Thanks...I'll send a message to Duncan to get it corrected.
They got the names mixed up with this and the Improving Clarity talk (that is listed as Nathan Smith)
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: wv_brewer on June 24, 2014, 10:17:37 AM
http://vimeo.com/98374600

About 37 seconds in...glad he's ok.  It looked brutal in person!
Thanks.  That doesn't really do it justice but, yeah, obviously glad he was not injured.  He joked about it in the water seminar, saying that it had all been choreographed.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: theDarkSide on June 24, 2014, 03:35:00 PM
To the AHA and local committees for future conferences:

I've been listening to a couple seminars that I couldn't make, and during the Q&A session, I would like to see them try a little harder to get people to use the microphone or at least have the presenter repeat the question.  During Tasty's talk, Justin was running around the room with the mike and Gordon had people come up to the microphone to ask their questions.  And their talks were a couple of the more heavily attended seminars.

I was listening to the cider panel and it was a little difficult trying to figure out what people were asking by the answers they were giving. 

Just a little constructive feedback for the future.  Thanks.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: james on June 24, 2014, 04:10:06 PM
To the AHA and local committees for future conferences:

I've been listening to a couple seminars that I couldn't make, and during the Q&A session, I would like to see them try a little harder to get people to use the microphone or at least have the presenter repeat the question.  During Tasty's talk, Justin was running around the room with the mike and Gordon had people come up to the microphone to ask their questions.  And their talks were a couple of the more heavily attended seminars.

I was listening to the cider panel and it was a little difficult trying to figure out what people were asking by the answers they were giving. 

Just a little constructive feedback for the future.  Thanks.
I'd agree, in most other seminars I've been to people line up behind the microphone to ask questions.  Then everyone gets heard as well as eliminates the problem of people raising their hands to ask questions and getting missed.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 24, 2014, 04:21:20 PM
To the AHA and local committees for future conferences:

I've been listening to a couple seminars that I couldn't make, and during the Q&A session, I would like to see them try a little harder to get people to use the microphone or at least have the presenter repeat the question.  During Tasty's talk, Justin was running around the room with the mike and Gordon had people come up to the microphone to ask their questions.  And their talks were a couple of the more heavily attended seminars.

I was listening to the cider panel and it was a little difficult trying to figure out what people were asking by the answers they were giving. 

Just a little constructive feedback for the future.  Thanks.
I'd agree, in most other seminars I've been to people line up behind the microphone to ask questions.  Then everyone gets heard as well as eliminates the problem of people raising their hands to ask questions and getting missed.
I might use the line up method next year. We were to make sure questions were on the mic so the question was recorded. It is hard to see the hands sometimes.
Title: Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
Post by: Herminator on June 24, 2014, 05:15:12 PM
Here is my take on NHC 2014.

First, I am from the Grand Rapids area and went to school there (GVSU) so I loved being back.  Arrived on Wed. and got a chance to hit the old stomping grounds of Founders.  Went to Perrin, GRBC, Hopcat and Brewery Vivant.  Vivant...wow!  Awesome brewery and fantastic beers.  Grand Rapids has certainly come up in regards to craft beer and it was great to see GR doing awesome things.

The conference was great.  The expo was really fun and got to see a lot of cool stuff.  The sessions were hit or miss.  I was actually expecting a little more out of the sessions, but about half of them I went to were either very introductory or just the presenter going through the motions not really covering much. I actually left two early because of the lack of info and polish.  Some of the better ones I attended were very informative and dug deep into the topic.  Overall....really good info to be had and glad they are posted online.

Club night was awesome!  I had some amazing beers and focused on sours that evening.  Really blown away. 

Didn't go to the banquet even though a buddy and me had a co-brew in the finals.  really just because I didn't want to pay for the banquet and not be able to eat anything (I'm vegan). 

Overall, really great time meeting people, learning lots and being back home. 

Oh and the forum meet up was awesome!  Great meeting Denny, Drew, Ron, Amanda and others. 

Two thumbs up for GR and I am looking forward to San Diego. Cheers!