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General Category => Events => Topic started by: narcout on June 14, 2015, 07:12:33 PM

Title: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: narcout on June 14, 2015, 07:12:33 PM
I just want to say what an awesome time I had at the NHC.  I can’t believe I was thinking about not going.

A lot of people must have worked very hard to make it happen, and they did a fantastic job. 

It was inspiring to try so many great homebrews, and it was a sincere pleasure to meet all of you (especially, but in no way limited to, the crew I was out with Friday afternoon).

To me, this weekend reinforced everything that is positive about homebrewing.  I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did and that I’ll see you all next year and beyond.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on June 14, 2015, 08:04:20 PM
Glad ya made it to the party!  Great to meet you.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 14, 2015, 08:40:20 PM
It was a very good conf, my 10th, you know understand why some keep going to it.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on June 14, 2015, 08:42:26 PM
Couldn't be helped this year, but I'm reminded that I said previously I'd never fly out early morning the day after conference. I am on waaaay to little sleep to put up with hours of airport delays! Just stay an extra day!  8)
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: flbrewer on June 14, 2015, 08:52:10 PM
I was there in spirit. I kept a watchful eye on the forums. Next year is east coast and I will have to make it.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 15, 2015, 12:06:02 AM
I am stuck in Denver. My flight was late leaving SD. I missed my connecting flight.  Other than that minor hiccup, NHC 2015 was a blast.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mchrispen on June 15, 2015, 12:41:02 AM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!

I got such a kick out of meeting everyone. Except for Marshall, Denny and Drew - nobody looked like I expected! Hopefully - the beginning of some long standing friendships.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: jeffy on June 15, 2015, 01:12:29 AM
Very nice meeting y'all!
It may take a couple days to recover.
Some impressions:
1) seminars seemed generally less scientific and more basic this year.  Did anyone else feel this way?
2) Need to make sure there's enough light the next time the Reception and Club Night are outside.
3) I love San Diego and even though it is pretty old, I love the Town and Country, too.
4) The conference app was great.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 15, 2015, 04:20:01 AM
Very nice meeting y'all!
It may take a couple days to recover.
Some impressions:
1) seminars seemed generally less scientific and more basic this year.  Did anyone else feel this way?
2) Need to make sure there's enough light the next time the Reception and Club Night are outside.
3) I love San Diego and even though it is pretty old, I love the Town and Country, too.
4) The conference app was great.

1 yes
2 yes, or placed so that they don't shine in your eyes when reading the beer lists.
3 yes, worked better with the whole hotel dedicated to the NHC.
4 The App, the App, the App! I didn't use the program.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: klickitat jim on June 15, 2015, 05:26:28 AM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!

I got such a kick out of meeting everyone. Except for Marshall, Denny and Drew - nobody looked like I expected! Hopefully - the beginning of some long standing friendships.
So you're saying the rest were handsome athletic and well behaved?
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mchrispen on June 15, 2015, 01:09:36 PM
Handsome... Maybe with the beer goggles. I'll defer to the lovely AmandaK. Athletic... If drinking were a sport or hauling around my beer belly or 30#s of books to get signed. Well behaved... I plead the fifth.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: toby on June 15, 2015, 02:23:02 PM
Couldn't be helped this year, but I'm reminded that I said previously I'd never fly out early morning the day after conference. I am on waaaay to little sleep to put up with hours of airport delays! Just stay an extra day!  8)

Yeah, I did that last year (5:55am Sunday flight) and swore I'd never do that again.

Very nice meeting y'all!
It may take a couple days to recover.
Some impressions:
1) seminars seemed generally less scientific and more basic this year.  Did anyone else feel this way?
2) Need to make sure there's enough light the next time the Reception and Club Night are outside.
3) I love San Diego and even though it is pretty old, I love the Town and Country, too.
4) The conference app was great.

1) Depended.  I would definitely like to see some more visual seminars (like a yeast management seminar with actual pictures or video of the process).  The only one I really disliked was Ray Daniels Hands-on Activities seminar.  He spent almost half the seminar on introductory talk when I was expecting either actual activities or at least some ideas for activities.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 15, 2015, 03:31:54 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!

It was nice meeting you and everyone from the forum. 

As much as I would like to have at least one major publication to my name before I join the land of the permanently horizontal, I fear that I may be too introverted for the kind of attention that an author has to endure.  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"


Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: yso191 on June 15, 2015, 03:48:38 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast. 
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: yso191 on June 15, 2015, 04:16:32 PM
I'll chime in on my impressions of NHC too.

1. My biggest impression was how well organized it was.  That takes a lot of thinking and work.
2. San Diego was a great place for it.
3. As mentioned above, having essentially the whole place was great.
4. The best part of the motel was all the flowers, plants, etc.,
5. The worst part of the motel was maintenance.  My wife and I seriously discussed moving to another motel.  The bed was total crap.
6. I too thought the seminars were too basic.  Some I learned nothing, most I learned one to two factoids
7. This was my first NHC.  Everything was very clear as to what was going on except for the final night Social Club.  That sounded awful to me.  I almost didn't go.  If I had known that they would be serving the competition beers I would have taken it easier at dinner (which by the ways was surprisingly excellent).  I ended up quite plowed because the beers served at the Social Club were freakin awesome!  Seriously the best beer of the week.

In sum, if future NHCs are in driving distance I'll definitely go, but maybe not otherwise.  It was very nice meeting forum members though.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: klickitat jim on June 15, 2015, 04:17:09 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast.
Yeast For Home Brewers?  Malt FHB, Water FHB, Hops FHB, then Bugs n Fruit FHB
Each a 100 page paperback. I'd buy them!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on June 15, 2015, 04:30:06 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast.

It's time for Brewer's Publications to start putting out books that emphasize the fun of homebrewing and don't put you to sleep. 
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: 69franx on June 15, 2015, 04:37:35 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast.

It's time for Brewer's Publications to start putting out books that emphasize the fun of homebrewing and don't put you to sleep.
+1
I have all 4, started Water way too early in my brewing hobby and gave up before 1/2 way into it. Have not touched the others yet. I will eventually get deep into all 3, 4 but they are in no means easy reads
edit for poor conveyance of thought
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: HoosierBrew on June 15, 2015, 04:39:19 PM
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast.

It's time for Brewer's Publications to start putting out books that emphasize the fun of homebrewing and don't put you to sleep.
+1
I have all 4, started Water way too early in my brewing hobby and gave up before 1/2 way into it. Have not touched the others yet. I will eventually get deep into all 3, but they are in no means easy reads

+2   Totally agree.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 15, 2015, 05:28:11 PM
It's time for Brewer's Publications to start putting out books that emphasize the fun of homebrewing and don't put you to sleep.

There's a fine balance between too little information and too much information.  I agree that the modern publications err heavily on the too much information side.  The reason may be that many brewers wanted more meat than the original books provided.  Brewers Publications may have also adopted a killing two birds with one stone approach to publishing.  The modern publications are technical enough to be used by professional brewers.  They are written more like textbooks than hobby books. 

When writing about brewing, the trick is always going to be how does one take an activity that is basically applied biochemistry/biochemical engineering and distill it in such a way as to make the information approachable to all.  I have spent a large portion of my life translating between the hardcore technical and layman worlds, and have found that the task is never easy. 
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: ibru on June 15, 2015, 05:30:01 PM
NHC 2015 was my first also and I thought it was great. My favorite part was putting faces to the names at the forum gathering. It is funny, as was mentioned, how people aren't quite how you visualize. Running into the Basic Brewing guys was a lot of fun. Great bunch of people that I'm proud to be a part of.

The app was extremely useful in figuring out where to go next. The free wi-fi was nice also.

I think the facility was well set up for our event. I like that lots of water was available as I consume a lot of water every day.

I agree with Jeff G that some of the seminars were pretty basic and not much "meat" to them. The ones I liked were the New hop (Ron Mexico beer), the Czech lager duo, Mitch Steele's IPA, Martin's water presentation (enjoyed meeting you), and of course the "Two D's" road show.

The beer selection was unending. A couple that come to mind are Charles' kelp beer (no, it doesn't taste like sea weed) and Ballast's grapefruit IPA. Being in San Diego a few more days on vacation, I going to plan on going to visiting their brewery and others.

All in all, if you have never been to a NHC, don't even think about it, GO.

Bruce
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on June 15, 2015, 05:36:43 PM
There's a fine balance between too little information and too much information.  I agree that the modern publications err heavily on the too much information side.  The reason may be that many brewers wanted more meat than the original books provided.  Brewers Publications may have also adopted a killing two birds with one stone approach to publishing.  The modern publications are technical enough to be used by professional brewers.  They are written more like textbooks than hobby books. 

When writing about brewing, the trick is always going to be how does one take an activity that is basically applied biochemistry/biochemical engineering and distill it in such a way as to make the information approachable to all.  I have spent a large portion of my life translating between the hardcore technical and layman worlds, and have found that the task is never easy.

Mark, it's not so much about the quantity or quality of information as the presentation of that info.  You;re right, it's not easy, but that's the trick for the writers.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: wyobrew on June 15, 2015, 05:40:53 PM
Very nice meeting y'all!
It may take a couple days to recover.
Some impressions:
1) seminars seemed generally less scientific and more basic this year.  Did anyone else feel this way?
2) Need to make sure there's enough light the next time the Reception and Club Night are outside.
3) I love San Diego and even though it is pretty old, I love the Town and Country, too.
4) The conference app was great.

My first conference. Can't wait to do it again. Two thumbs up to the AHA. I can't imagine all the work involved to make something so big operate as smooth as it did. Outstanding job.
Seminars did seem a little basic. My favorite - Brewing Session Beers by Andrew Mitchell from New Belgium. He gave a lot of tips and how to's. Not only how they do it at the brewery but how he has adapted his homebrews.
My wife loved the conference grounds and all the flowers. Room was outdated but very clean.
The app was awesome. Used it exclusively.
Regret missing the meet-up. My plan to attend was hi-jacked by beer somewhere in the homebrew expo.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on June 15, 2015, 05:47:28 PM
In sum, if future NHCs are in driving distance I'll definitely go, but maybe not otherwise.  It was very nice meeting forum members though.

Come on Steve...I flew from NH to Seattle for NHC, the least you can do is fly to Baltimore next year :)

The final social after the banquet is great.  The last chance to hang out with great homebrewers and try some really great beer.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on June 15, 2015, 05:50:06 PM
5. The worst part of the motel was maintenance.  My wife and I seriously discussed moving to another motel.  The bed was total crap.

What part were you in?  I always try to get a room in the Royal Palm tower and they're pretty good.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: AmandaK on June 15, 2015, 06:18:24 PM
5. The worst part of the motel was maintenance.  My wife and I seriously discussed moving to another motel.  The bed was total crap.

What part were you in?  I always try to get a room in the Royal Palm tower and they're pretty good.

He was probably in the Regency Tower like us. What a crappy place. Only one elevator worked (barely), the wallpaper was coming off the wall in places, no refrigerators, and the beds/pillows SUCKED. If it ever goes back to the Town and Country, I will be staying at a different hotel.

My impressions, outside of the crap Regency Tower:
- Man, I love the people at NHC. I love finding my beer family every year and adding about 15-20 people to that circle each time. Can't wait for the next time we get to go to NHC!
- The seminars were pretty basic, outside of a handful of them of course (Czech lagers, mead panel, mead recipes, and blending).
- The BJCP judges reception was AMAZEBALLS. Drinking bottles of Utopian and Tart of Darkness was great. The presentations here were better than 80% of the actual NHC presentations.
- I drank a lot of mead.
- The Final round judging was so well organized. Kudos to the organizers there, especially Bruce and Janis, for putting on a great judging experience. I met a ton of great judges there, from Recognized to GM2, that all had something for me to learn. And hey, the Standard American Lager we picked out at mini-BOS got 2nd BOS! Pretty neat!
- The AHA should have made it crystal clear on what beer we could have brought into the banquet. Many people did not bring any beer to share or sniped the beer our table was saving for the awards right off our table. All of that could have been solved by simply telling people they could only bring commercial beer in. Several of our friends ended up taking their commercial beer back to their room instead of bringing it to the banquet.
- Am I the only one who thought the majority of Club Night beers were sub-par?? Sure, there were some awesome clubs who brought their A-game and some awesome mead makers there, but I had about 50% crappy beer until I just stuck around the clubs that had the good stuff. Like... butter bomb Pilsners, aectic ciders, sock-smelling gueuzes, acrid stouts, etc. I watered a lot of plants that night until I found the booths that had well made beers. I actually asked a couple of the clubs how they selected beers and the general consensus was "We asked for kegs and got kegs." No selection process? Dang.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: The Professor on June 15, 2015, 06:23:57 PM
I was there in spirit. I kept a watchful eye on the forums. Next year is east coast and I will have to make it.

Same here.  Next year's is a very do-able drive for me, so if I'm not on tour or working on the left coast, I fully expect to be able to make 2016 and meet a lot of the folks I've enjoyed reading, comparing notes with, and (open minded old dog that I am) learning from.
 ;D
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on June 15, 2015, 06:26:12 PM

He was probably in the Regency Tower like us. What a crappy place. Only one elevator worked (barely), the wallpaper was coming off the wall in places, no refrigerators, and the beds/pillows SUCKED. If it ever goes back to the Town and Country, I will be staying at a different hotel.
So if someone got sick in the room after club night, would the resort have even noticed? :)

- Am I the only one who thought the majority of Club Night beers were sub-par?? Sure, there were some awesome clubs who brought their A-game and some awesome mead makers there, but I had about 50% crappy beer until I just stuck around the clubs that had the good stuff. Like... butter bomb Pilsners, aectic ciders, sock-smelling gueuzes, acrid stouts, etc. I watered a lot of plants that night until I found the booths that had well made beers. I actually asked a couple of the clubs how they selected beers and the general consensus was "We asked for kegs and got kegs." No selection process? Dang.
A friend of mine texted me the same thing.  He said it was the reason he didn't really have a hangover on Saturday.  We have a local fest where some clubs bring 70 kegs...most of which I used to water the lawn at the campground we were at.  Quality, not quantity!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mchrispen on June 15, 2015, 07:08:55 PM
I second Amanda's comments... wound up standing around the Zealots booth and just socializing. Fortunately we ran out of spam mead pretty quickly. We were next to ASH and they were pouring pretty good stuff. Otherwise it was hit and miss... Societe de Lambic was pretty awesome... and had a few of the Maltose Beers, all good - even the trepidation of Drew's Clam Chowda Saison which was a really well made beer, just a bit salty/minerally for my taste, but good. Of course, Denny cannot completely disassociate himself with that one - he was there. Martin and Yooper picked up some diacetyl in my BoPils, but I got a lot of compliments on it. So apologies if anyone got a butter bomb from it. As a consolation - Eric Lowe was pouring some of his best meads (commercial) and I had a petilant semi sweet standard mead on tap.

Really annoyed with the Regency Tower and the lack of serviceable (and air conditioned) elevators. I have a bum knee and finally just walked the 6 floors in the stairs - not pleasant... smelled like a few thousand homebrewers dirty socks in there. The lack of decent food (like the $30 hamburger/brat buffet) nearby was a real challenge. That said - I came for the seminars.

My biggest frustration and disappointment was showing up to judge or steward and being brusquely turned away. I was there to help. Everyone seemed too busy to answer questions and finally I was told I didn't respond to a steward email that I later found in my spam box from someone's personal email. "The best way I can help is to get out of the way." Part of my motivation to attend was to learn more about judging and get points toward my Certification. Fortunately, Sandy C and a few others sat with me and asked me to send them sheets to give me some feedback, of which I will take advantage. To be clear - not angry, but the judging/stewarding organization could have had much better communication.
Title: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: brulosopher on June 15, 2015, 07:23:15 PM
It was inspiring to try so many great homebrews, and it was a sincere pleasure to meet all of you (especially, but in no way limited to, the crew I was out with Friday afternoon).
I couldn't agree more, Franklin, thanks for letting us tag along. I made some great new friends.

I am stuck in Denver. My flight was late leaving SD. I missed my connecting flight.  Other than that minor hiccup, NHC 2015 was a blast.
Mark, you're an incredible guy, I meant it when I said I'd buy your book :)

Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!

I got such a kick out of meeting everyone. Except for Marshall, Denny and Drew - nobody looked like I expected! Hopefully - the beginning of some long standing friendships.
Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!

I got such a kick out of meeting everyone. Except for Marshall, Denny and Drew - nobody looked like I expected! Hopefully - the beginning of some long standing friendships.
So you're saying the rest were handsome athletic and well behaved?
Pics of me blowing into siphons and eating yeasty yogurt gave it all away.

Mark - it was very nice meeting you. And thanks for passing along your yeast knowledge. Seriously - write a book someday. I will buy it!
  Plus, how does one top "Yeast?"

Well that is easy.  Write one that is a fraction of the size.  Just focus on quick how's and whys. 

The Yeast book is intimidating and has way too much peripheral info for the guy who just wants to make good beer.  I'll bet a book like that would outsell Yeast.

It's time for Brewer's Publications to start putting out books that emphasize the fun of homebrewing and don't put you to sleep.
Seriously!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: toby on June 15, 2015, 07:44:15 PM
What part were you in?  I always try to get a room in the Royal Palm tower and they're pretty good.
I booked as soon as I received the email that rooms were available and the only thing I was offered as an option were either regency tower or garden.  Royal Palm wasn't even an option.  Maybe that was just for celebrities.  ;)

He was probably in the Regency Tower like us. What a crappy place. Only one elevator worked (barely), the wallpaper was coming off the wall in places, no refrigerators, and the beds/pillows SUCKED. If it ever goes back to the Town and Country, I will be staying at a different hotel.
Yeah, I would stay at a different place and shuttle or Uber.  Elevator wasn't an issue for me since I was on the first floor right by the broken one.

Quote
- The BJCP judges reception was AMAZEBALLS. Drinking bottles of Utopian and Tart of Darkness was great. The presentations here were better than 80% of the actual NHC presentations.
My only 'complaint' was that they were way over time.  I had a tour group to join that I didn't want to miss, so I had to bail after Ted Hausotter.
Quote
- Am I the only one who thought the majority of Club Night beers were sub-par?? Sure, there were some awesome clubs who brought their A-game and some awesome mead makers there, but I had about 50% crappy beer until I just stuck around the clubs that had the good stuff. Like... butter bomb Pilsners, aectic ciders, sock-smelling gueuzes, acrid stouts, etc. I watered a lot of plants that night until I found the booths that had well made beers. I actually asked a couple of the clubs how they selected beers and the general consensus was "We asked for kegs and got kegs." No selection process? Dang.
No.  I ran into my judging partner from Thursday morning fairly early and we hit a lot of tables.  We were both amazed at the range (from fantastic to undrinkable).  Our club would have never served most of that.  Our standard isn't exactly unreachable, and can be summed up with "bring something to serve that you would be proud to serve to your friends".  We don't do a formal panel, but when testing the lines, anything that doesn't pass the 'smell test' will get pulled.

To be clear - not angry, but the judging/stewarding organization could have had much better communication.

Yeah, we finished the morning session early and neither of us were doing mini-BoS, so we headed out.  I got back between 12:30 and 1, and discovered that the lunch had been moved to 11:00-12:30 and the afternoon judging had already started without me.  Double-bummer because then I had missed Mitch Steele's IPA seminar.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: CentralCalBrewer on June 15, 2015, 09:12:14 PM
1. All of the events were great. Most of the seminars were good if not just a bit simplistic.
2. Anyone that stayed in the Regency tower should get some kind of discount. That was a disgusting mess.
3. The banquet was a joke and the food did not match expectation and price. Will not ever do that again.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: jeffy on June 15, 2015, 09:29:34 PM
Huh.  My meal at the banquet was fantastic.  The complexity of the salad course was impressive.

I would rather have had round tables though.

I also was one who was initially disappointed with beers at club night.  I think 3 out of 4 were not good enough to enjoy the whole sample.  Until I found the right club booths, that is.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on June 15, 2015, 09:55:04 PM
Am I the only one who thought the majority of Club Night beers were sub-par??.

you already know I'm with you.  And that it's not new.  I loved the KCBM booth last year; your beers were on point, even when they were experimental.
I'll repeat that I love Pro Night because the avg quality is so high.  This year I couldn't follow my usual plan for Club Night, which is to show up late and find out what is great from other people.  The "brought their A-game" brewers/clubs really stick out.

I didn't mind being outside, though yes the lighting was sometimes an issue.  It did seem, however, that the outdoor stuff was sized for 2011's 2K attendees and not 2015's 3K attendees.  Pretty crowded.

Had a Garden room, first floor.  Unimpressive, awful bed, though I had among the shortest walk to stuff like Club Night so that worked out OK.  Only one night had a crowd of people outside my door at 1:45; the other nights were fairly quiet.  As a gardener, the grounds were a dream.

Not having my beers/meads/ciders there to share is probably my biggest regret.  I'll fix that for Baltimore; it just isn't as fun when I can't share with my OTHER family. 

The competition ran very smoothly  (and I'm so glad the leftover bottles were saved unlike '14!)  I personally witnessed Bruce getting people's contact info on Wednesday, and finding a place for them to judge (although, note that adding extra judges to an already-set schedule made flights shorter, which made people done earlier, which created the whole "lunch isn't ready yet" thing.  I would support making him permanent judge director; he has a good CEO quality and gets stuff done.  I don't think anyone who shows up the morning of a national competition expecting to help can really be upset with the organization of said competition if they are turned away.  The planning for this thing is incredible.

Next year I hope to win all 4 Major Awards and get booed louder than the Brewing Network for hogging all the hardware.  ;)

hope to see you next year--
--Michael
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: brulosopher on June 15, 2015, 10:01:27 PM

1. All of the events were great. Most of the seminars were good if not just a bit simplistic.
2. Anyone that stayed in the Regency tower should get some kind of discount. That was a disgusting mess.
3. The banquet was a joke and the food did not match expectation and price. Will not ever do that again.
1. Agreed.
2. Yeah, totally.
3. I reeeeeally liked the food... for good reason. I was pretty surprised by the lackluster beer pairing, despite loving Lagunitas.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: CentralCalBrewer on June 15, 2015, 10:06:11 PM
3. I reeeeeally liked the food... for good reason. I was pretty surprised by the lackluster beer pairing, despite loving Lagunitas.

I knew there was something wrong with you! LOL

Honestly, leaving Sean Paxton out was a travesty. If he's not back in future years, I'll skip the banquet.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mike89t on June 15, 2015, 10:09:29 PM
He was probably in the Regency Tower like us. What a crappy place. Only one elevator worked (barely), the wallpaper was coming off the wall in places, no refrigerators, and the beds/pillows SUCKED. If it ever goes back to the Town and Country, I will be staying at a different hotel.

- Am I the only one who thought the majority of Club Night beers were sub-par?? Sure, there were some awesome clubs who brought their A-game and some awesome mead makers there, but I had about 50% crappy beer until I just stuck around the clubs that had the good stuff. Like... butter bomb Pilsners, aectic ciders, sock-smelling gueuzes, acrid stouts, etc. I watered a lot of plants that night until I found the booths that had well made beers. I actually asked a couple of the clubs how they selected beers and the general consensus was "We asked for kegs and got kegs." No selection process? Dang.

We were in the same tower and yes it sucked!  Looked like it hadn't been updated since the 80s.  We were on the 4th floor right next to the one elevator that worked but decided to take the stairs way on the other side of the tower.  Beat waiting 10 minutes for the elevator.

I probably tossed about a third of my beers on club night.  Then again I had some amazing beers and meads as well.  I'm not a big mead fan but had one that was a prickly pear mead that was bright purple in color.  It was pretty amazing.  But yeah I helped the landscapers a lot that night.  Still it was my favorite night of the event.  Some of the clubs really went all out with their booths!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on June 15, 2015, 10:24:24 PM
3. I reeeeeally liked the food... for good reason. I was pretty surprised by the lackluster beer pairing, despite loving Lagunitas.

I really enjoyed the main course and dessert, but I think all salad courses must be compared to the awesome 2014 banquet salad.

Heard several nearby lackluster comments re: pairing.  I'll be honest; I was floating on Alpine Duet when I walked in and only even tasted the last of the 4 beers.  That one was certainly lackluster.   
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: CentralCalBrewer on June 15, 2015, 10:28:30 PM

I really enjoyed the main course and dessert, but I think all salad courses must be compared to the awesome 2014 banquet salad.

Yeah - the dessert was acceptable. And maybe I just got the short end, but the main was boring and under seasoned. In that setting, how do you not bring your A game... Oh well... it happens I guess.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: klickitat jim on June 15, 2015, 10:38:18 PM
This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: guido on June 15, 2015, 10:40:32 PM
Great conference overall. Just some notes: My room was small and shabby, tho. The flight home was brutal. It took me about 30 hours to get home, but I knew what I was getting into. The NHC App was excellent, BTW. It was nice to have some public transportation, unlike Grand Rapids. Uber rocked. I wish there could have been a tour to Stone Liberty Garden (went there via Uber). The outdoor setting for the Welcome and Reception and Club Night was a good idea. It was crowded, but the noise was tolerable. I fear it will be too humid in Baltimore for an outdoor setting.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: AmandaK on June 15, 2015, 10:42:54 PM


  I'll be honest; I was floating on Alpine Duet when I walked in and only even tasted the last of the 4 beers.  That one was certainly lackluster.   

And you were judging me for drinking a ton of Duet! Haha.

I gotta say, a great perk of being a BJCP judge is the beer at the events they put on at NHC. Utopian (plus 3 other Moonlight meads!) and Tart of Darkness on Wednesday, Duet on Saturday. Not too shabby.

Yeah, that last pairing was pretty poor. That beer was way too bitter for the dessert. I drank Pils with my dessert.

And for the record, I make better short ribs. ;) But... I certainly don't make them for 3000 people! Geez, could you imagine the plating team involved in that?

Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mike89t on June 15, 2015, 10:43:40 PM
This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.

Even though there were flaws it was still an amazing 4 days.  I just didn't spend much time in my room and avoided the nasty "resort" food by eating offsite.  98% of the people I ran into were fantastic.  You just ignore the 1 or 2 bad apples.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: SiameseMoose on June 16, 2015, 12:53:33 AM
It is always good to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. That's become my number one reason for attending. The forum meet-up was a good example of that.

This was my 12th conference, so some of my comments reflect comparisons with past experiences.
- I understand the reasons for returning to the Town and Country, but honestly, if it comes back there again I will choose to finally skip a conference. 6 hour wait to check in, finally getting into our rather shabby room at 7, massive price gouging on marginal food, noisy as hell (we were near the hotel laundry) - all reflect the same experience as the last time. Not again.
- I loved having the Welcome Reception and Club Night outdoors. I don't see how that can be repeated elsewhere, but I hope it can. Someone made a comment about how crowded it was - I thought it was much less of a zoo than any of the last few years.
- Club Night beer quality has been steadily declining for quite a few years. I have no idea about how to reverse that. Since I'm in Ohio we couldn't run our own booth (too far), but for next year we've already decided that all beers have to pass an independent evaluation before making the list.
- A lot of the presentations were sub-par, or near-total repeats of prior years. I hate that the AHA feels the need that all of the authors of new books get a spot. It seems to be all about book sales. Mitch Steele has great information, but his presentation was 99% the same as last year.
-Presentations I particularly liked included Andrew Mitchell's Brewing Session Beers, Phil Farrel's Does Your Fermenter Affect Your Beer?, and I laughed through Drew and Denny's Experiments (the experiment of having everyone try the two "different" beers was fun, though trying to do it with the big crowd meant few got the beers in similar condition - my first was warm and oxidized, the second cold and fresh).
- I've stopped judging at NHC, and this year confirmed that as a good idea for me A major reduction in the volume of alcohol consumed away from fun events greatly improved my well-being through the week-end.

Finally. I'm on the AHA Conference Sub-Committee, so please continue to make your comments, up or down. We are listening!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: brulosopher on June 16, 2015, 02:03:58 AM

This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.
Jim, it was SO much fun! People have a tendency to focus and talk about negative s***. Sure, maybe the banquet isn't worth it for some, but everything else was amazing, most specifically meeting all the rad homebrewers I got to. I hope to make every conference until I die.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: toby on June 16, 2015, 02:51:21 AM
Yeah, that last pairing was pretty poor. That beer was way too bitter for the dessert. I drank Pils with my dessert.
I shared my barrel aged scotch ale with dessert which was conveniently labeled to look like a commercial beer.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: a10t2 on June 16, 2015, 02:59:47 AM
I guess I'll chime in on the post-mortem…

And finally, I hope that none of these minor nitpicks discourages anyone from attending a fantastic conference in the future. Cheers to the BA/AHA staff, the organizing committee, judges and stewards, speakers, breweries, clubs, and anyone else I'm forgetting!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: tonyccopeland on June 16, 2015, 04:24:55 AM
It sounds like a great time.  I have already started prepping  the wife to try and make it to Baltimore for my first.  The 4 kids schedules and activities may be a challenge, but if i might  ask a personal question, how much does one budget for an NHC conference, assuming a few local brewery tours?  I understand hotel and travel... anything else to accout for?  Please feel free to pm me or chastise me openly if this isn't appropriate.  Just trying to gather info/data for next year...

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: brulosopher on June 16, 2015, 04:51:51 AM

...if i might  ask a personal question, how much does one budget for an NHC conference, assuming a few local brewery tours?  I understand hotel and travel... anything else to accout for?  Please feel free to pm me or chastise me openly if this isn't appropriate.  Just trying to gather info/data for next year...
It's not cheap.

Ticket: $220 (+ $80 for banquet, I believe?)
Travel costs: $100 for gas, prob $500 for tix from CA to MD next year.
Hotel: $174/night-- shh, we split 3 ways x 4 nights = $232/person.
Food (hotel was exorbitantly high, ate out some): $120
Beer: $120... when in Rome...
Other stuff (apparel, etc.): ~$100

I'd say a $1000-1300 budget for everything will keep you comfortable, though it can certainly be done cheaper if you cut out the unnecessary stuff (like BNA, clothes, breweries, and hotel food).

Hope that helps. Cheers!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: 69franx on June 16, 2015, 05:05:54 AM
Have not done the NHC yet, but I did visit San Diego last August Marshall. I have no idea how you could get by on only $120 budgeted for beer with all those great breweries! I know there was a ton of home brew available at the conference, but I think I dropped more than $120 on beer alone at Stone, Port/Lost Abbey, Mother Earth, And Belching Beaver, and I did not even see half of the breweries that I wanted to get to! I think the budget is a matter of personal preferences/priorities and self control. As I am planning on Baltimore, and knowing almost none of the area breweries mentioned in another thread today, I expect to be there a little before the conference and a little after. I know I will sample a lot of local beer and not be shy about it, but I will budget according to my personal tastes and consumption level. If you are there just for the conference, I would think expenditures would really just be non conference food if you choose, plus walking around cash. This assumes you have already gotten there and have lodgings. Think about souvenirs and how much you would be willing to spend to remember the trip. But when thinking about this, remember we are happier when we spend our time and money on experiences rather than things. ie, drink more, buy less stuff, get out and see the city at a level you are comfortable with. I know I'm rambling but its late here and I can't sleep. I also cannot apparently keep on track, thanks for listening
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2015, 05:31:23 AM
I guess I'll chime in on the post-mortem…
  • I was very pleased with the Handlery - Modern Times on tap in the lobby doesn't hurt. A bare minimum of bed bugs. From what I saw of the rooms at the T&C it is certainly in need of a facelift.
  • Being outdoors is the best part of a beer festival. I'd love to see more of that in the future, although that would be impossible in large swaths of the country. Denver 2019?!
  • I agree that there was too much of a focus on top-level seminars rather than technical presentations. I do appreciate the need to appeal to all experience levels, but the two need not be mutually exclusive. For what it's worth, I plan on putting my money where my mouth is and submitting at least one proposal for next year.
  • Travis' talk on anthropological evidence for the history of brewing and malting was the highlight for me and a great example of the sort of thing I'd love to see more of.
  • The senseless waste continues to get to me. I know we can't do NHC without sponsors, and that that means tchotchkes, but surely we could set up a recycling station for the bags that no one keeps. The app seems to have been well-received (don't get me wrong; it needs work), so could we print half as many paper programs next year?
  • Club Night was a little disappointing quality-wise, but that seems to go hand-in-hand with hosting the event near population centers. Grand Rapids was the best in my limited experience.
  • As a corollary, I drank *way* too much mead.
  • As always, the best part was reconnecting with those I've met in the past and getting to meet some of those I haven't. A special thanks to those who indulged my crazy Friday afternoon blowing-off-the-conference brewery crawl.

And finally, I hope that none of these minor nitpicks discourages anyone from attending a fantastic conference in the future. Cheers to the BA/AHA staff, the organizing committee, judges and stewards, speakers, breweries, clubs, and anyone else I'm forgetting!

Yup even got a taste of Schramm's mead.  ;)
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: coastsidemike on June 16, 2015, 05:45:40 AM

This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.
Jim, it was SO much fun! People have a tendency to focus and talk about negative s***. Sure, maybe the banquet isn't worth it for some, but everything else was amazing, most specifically meeting all the rad homebrewers I got to. I hope to make every conference until I die.

It was my first NHC as well.  The conference talks were very worthwhile (favorites were Mitch Steele, Martin Brungard, Kara Taylor, and Jason Pratt from MillerCoors), however I learned that it was best to walk the convention floor during the larger talks and avoid the crowds.  I had good conversations with every homebrew supplier I use.  Having access to maltsters was fabulous (recipe help + grains to try), and then being able to say hello to just about anyone was awesome. 

I came away realizing that I need to focus on brewing beer that is refreshing to drink (as in Session IPA instead of Double IPA).  I chose to stay near the beach and bring my own food in, and was around for maybe half the conference.  There was some serious hustle to put this event on, yeah, that made it tons of fun.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: dbeechum on June 16, 2015, 07:21:39 AM
Brewers Publications may have also adopted a killing two birds with one stone approach to publishing.  The modern publications are technical enough to be used by professional brewers.  They are written more like textbooks than hobby books.

As far as I'm aware, this was absolutely the mandate on the Elements series.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on June 16, 2015, 12:15:37 PM
How did people feel about the hours the expo/social club was open?  Felt fairly limited to me. Had to skip the AHA member mtg just to get over there briefly.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: rjharper on June 16, 2015, 01:41:26 PM
My first NHC. I had a good time overall but frankly I was underwhelmed. My thoughts.

Accommodation: I stayed at the Double-tree for the same price as the Town & Country. Based on what I'm reading, and the condition of the host hotel, this was the right move. The meeting rooms were fine although cramped for some talks, and the expo center was what you'd expect.

Food: Absolute food wasteland. In a conference with this much beer flowing, the limited food availability and price gouging by the hotel was unacceptable. I'm glad I had a big breakfast at the Double-tree because until we went offsite to the mall on Saturday, we were pretty much skipping lunch. Pizza by the pool was the best value, if you didn't mind waiting all night.

Seminars: Generally OK, I enjoyed the Sour Mashing Talk and Hop-Fu in particular, and the Crafting Strategy was worthwhile, but everything else seemed very entry level or recycled based on previous years I'd seen online. Given that we can access all presentations online anyway, the main benefit I saw to the live talks was for the ones involving tastings, and in a couple of those the beer ran out or wasn't poured at the right time.

Banquet: For what we paid, I was really disappointed. The cheese puffs were cold, dry and bland. The salad was really good, and the the beef was tender enough but needed a lot of salt. Dessert was nice. The beer pairings were very non-inspiring, a hoppy beer, followed by a hoppier beer, followed by an even hoppier beer. Seriously? Half our table didn't get the stout, and coffee never made it that far into the room. Confusion over the rules for homebrew v commercial then meant nothing to drink during awards until the social.

AHA Forum Meetup: I swung by on the first day for a little bit; there weren't too many people there but did get to put faces to names for some of the regulars!

Pro Night: Lots of great beer, great location in the open gardens, and the music was pretty good too. Probably the highlight of the week for me.

Club Night: Biggest disappointment of the week for me. I went expecting great things, and ended up dumping 3/4 of what I was poured. You're a homebrew club, getting to pour at NHC, and you don't bring your A game? Did nobody in the respective clubs screen their offerings or at least test the lines? I got poured a Berliner Weiss that was infected with butyric and clostridium so badly that my gag reflex kicked in, and I had to go soap my glass out. That said, there were a few solid beers, and QUAFF & Maltose Falcons had great setups, so kudos to them. I didn't see as much craziness as I've heard from previous years.

Social Night: Russian Roulette with leftover entries. Totally expected, and what I'm used to at competitions. Probably dumped about 1/2 but that's why they didn't win! It's a good test of the palette to only have a style number to go on. Still a nice chilled evening to wind down the week.

Location: San Diego has a great beer scene, and we enjoyed side trips to Stone, White Labs, Ballast Point & Karl Strauss, plus the BN Party on the Wednesday. It's about as far in one corner of the country as you get, but that's why we take turns on host cities.

Overall I'm glad I went, and got to experience an NHC firsthand, but it was an expensive 4 days for what it was. I've been to GABF for 6 years and watched it lose that special something, to the point I'm not going any more. I wonder if NHC has passed it's best years? Who knows? I think I'll skip next year, we all know Baltimore-DC is even more expensive, and I'll wait to see where 2017 ends up in the Mid-West.

Thanks to the AHA committee for pulling the show together, and the logistical nightmare that is the competition. And hi to Janis whom I met on Club Night!!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on June 16, 2015, 02:20:12 PM
It sounds like a great time.  I have already started prepping  the wife to try and make it to Baltimore for my first.  The 4 kids schedules and activities may be a challenge, but if i might  ask a personal question, how much does one budget for an NHC conference, assuming a few local brewery tours?  I understand hotel and travel... anything else to accout for?  Please feel free to pm me or chastise me openly if this isn't appropriate.  Just trying to gather info/data for next year...

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Data pt: I just spent $1850 on airfare, airport xfers, full conference, 5 nights at host hotel, and a few poor to decent meals, w/o visiting any breweries. It certainly ain't cheap, esp when you're not splitting a room.  Still, I hope you can make it next year. I drove to Grand Rapids, did lots of outside tours and events, and spent $400-500 on them.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 16, 2015, 02:32:38 PM
I can assure people that Maryland is not as expensive as California.  Granted, Maryland prices are not Mid-West prices, but the cost of living in the Baltimore Metro Area is nowhere near as obscene as it is in California.  The cost of living does grow significantly as one nears the District of Columbia.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: rjharper on June 16, 2015, 02:41:28 PM
It sounds like a great time.  I have already started prepping  the wife to try and make it to Baltimore for my first.  The 4 kids schedules and activities may be a challenge, but if i might  ask a personal question, how much does one budget for an NHC conference, assuming a few local brewery tours?  I understand hotel and travel... anything else to accout for?  Please feel free to pm me or chastise me openly if this isn't appropriate.  Just trying to gather info/data for next year...

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Data pt: I just spent $1850 on airfare, airport xfers, full conference, 5 nights at host hotel, and a few poor to decent meals, w/o visiting any breweries. It certainly ain't cheap, esp when you're not splitting a room.  Still, I hope you can make it next year. I drove to Grand Rapids, did lots of outside tours and events, and spent $400-500 on them.

Airfare: $525
Hotel: $650 for 4 nights
Registration: $300 (inc Banquet
Ubers: $35 (to and from airport)
BN Party: $50
Food: $150 (excludes breakfast at hotel, skipped most lunches, and ate packed protein bars)
Airport Parking: $50

Puts me at $1750 (for just me) before I include bar tabs and brewery visits. Not a cheap trip by any means.

Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: rjharper on June 16, 2015, 02:43:05 PM
I can assure people that Maryland is not as expensive as California.  Granted, Maryland prices are not Mid-West prices, but the cost of living in the Baltimore Metro Area is nowhere near as obscene as it is in California.  The cost of living does grow significantly as one nears the District of Columbia.

There better be a hell of a conference discount on the hotel then, because right now even GSA gov't rates are 50% higher than San Diego.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on June 16, 2015, 02:54:06 PM
NHC will need to be in Asheville soon.  Check out these bombers prices.  A fellow club member went down there on vacation and couldn't believe it:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/396RkEIxkRzJHyAtzIr5HedH4SSiYpuAw0YZKg_Ovg=w960-h540-no)
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 16, 2015, 03:02:19 PM
The rates that you are seeing are non-conference rates.  GSA rates are not conference rates. 
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: rjharper on June 16, 2015, 03:08:54 PM
The rates that you are seeing are non-conference rates.  GSA rates are not conference rates.

I realize that so I've got my fingers crossed. In my industry, I've rarely ever seen event rates beat GSA rates, since GSA is normally about as low as hotels are willing to go. GSA was cheaper than NHC in San Diego this year.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on June 16, 2015, 03:25:16 PM
This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.

IMO, big mistake.  You should decide for yourself, not let other people's opinions sway you.  Personally, I thought it was all great.  Sure, club night beers were hot or miss, but they always are.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: dbeechum on June 16, 2015, 04:04:01 PM
NHC will need to be in Asheville soon.

Going to have to figure out where in Asheville to put 3000-4000 people and how to get them in/out since the Asheville airport is not exactly a hustling hub.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 16, 2015, 04:21:26 PM
I realize that so I've got my fingers crossed. In my industry, I've rarely ever seen event rates beat GSA rates, since GSA is normally about as low as hotels are willing to go. GSA was cheaper than NHC in San Diego this year.

I would also like to add that the hotels near the Baltimore Convention Center are mostly national hotel chains, many of which are high-end brands.  Due to its proximately to the Inner Harbor, this area contains some of the most expensive commercial real estate in Baltimore.  Compare the rates at these hotels with comparable hotels and locations in California, and you will find that the Maryland hotels are quite a bit cheaper. 

With that said, I would gladly pay $50.00 to $75.00 more per night if it meant not having to stay in a fleabag hotel.  I have never stayed in a hotel that was as poorly maintained as the Town and Country.  My first room in the Royal Palm Tower was really nasty.  I checked in on Monday night and was ready to check out by Tuesday evening.  I would have checked out had I been able to book a room at a hotel that was on the shuttle route; however, I waited too long to do so.  I do not know if the hotel room situation in the hotels on the shuttle route changed on Wednesday because I had been moved to a room that I could endure for the remainder of my stay. 

Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 16, 2015, 04:23:17 PM
Going to have to figure out where in Asheville to put 3000-4000 people and how to get them in/out since the Asheville airport is not exactly a hustling hub.

Asheville has a logistics problem.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on June 16, 2015, 05:22:56 PM
NHC will need to be in Asheville soon.

Going to have to figure out where in Asheville to put 3000-4000 people and how to get them in/out since the Asheville airport is not exactly a hustling hub.

Drew,

A little off topic but do you know why the NHC is almost always the 2nd week in June?  Is it just because that's the way it's been done in the past, easier to get a conference rate at hotels before the summer season really kicks in, or the membership has indicated later would conflict with other summer plans?  I know Philly was a special situation, but it was great to roll a couple extra days in there through 4th of July and not conflict with the kid's school activities.

Mostly just curious if the AHA has ever investigated this.  I'm sure, like everything else, some would love it...others would hate it.

Thanks.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 16, 2015, 06:11:04 PM
NHC will need to be in Asheville soon.

Going to have to figure out where in Asheville to put 3000-4000 people and how to get them in/out since the Asheville airport is not exactly a hustling hub.

Drew,

A little off topic but do you know why the NHC is almost always the 2nd week in June?  Is it just because that's the way it's been done in the past, easier to get a conference rate at hotels before the summer season really kicks in, or the membership has indicated later would conflict with other summer plans?  I know Philly was a special situation, but it was great to roll a couple extra days in there through 4th of July and not conflict with the kid's school activities.

Mostly just curious if the AHA has ever investigated this.  I'm sure, like everything else, some would love it...others would hate it.

Thanks.

I can't say exactly why, but the conf. centers need to have an opening when then the AHA starts looking for a location. Some cities are booked far in advanced for conferences that always happen there at that time.

Early June has problems for those with kids that are still in school or are educators in some states. In Michigan schools don' t start until after Labor Day (state law to help the tourist industry up north), so getting in the required number of school days makes the school calendars run into June. Make up snow days push the last day farther into June. Did anyone notice that Joe and Andy Hudecek were not at the conference for the first time since 2003? Joe is a High School Chemestry teacher.

Asheville has a lot going for it, but flights would be a problem for many. The AHA questionnaire has cities that one would consider going to. I have not filled mine out yet, is Asheville on it? Let the AHA know there is interest if it is not.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: smkranz on June 16, 2015, 08:21:57 PM
My room at the Town & Country was fine, as it was 4 years ago.  I didn't sleep great, but that had more to do with the time change and the volume of beer consumed, than the bed.  It was not in one of the towers, but was a pretty fair walk from the main action.  Would have liked a 'fridge and a microwave.  Because there also was no in-room safe, I left the "do not disturb" sign in my key slot for the entire stay (Tues thru Sun), since it was just me, there were four sets of towels.  The lunch buffet in the Trellis restaurant (about $24 with tax) was badly priced but it was convenient, so I used that option twice.

Had another good time re-taking the tasting exam on Wednesday, and judging on Thursday.  Both events went smoothly.  The only things I wanted to do but missed, were the BJCP reception and members meeting.

Holding Club Night outdoors was good except for the spotty lighting.  It was crowded, but I was pretty much always able to find beer and a place to park as needed.  Maybe because I was pacing myself, and didn't have as many homebrews as some other folks in this thread, I didn't have many beers that weren't at least decent.

Our club has participated in many Club Nights in distant towns, but we didn't have enough people going cross country this year to pull it off.  Next year in Baltimore we'll be there in full force.  We have also never told someone that their beer wasn't worthy to put on...no better way to generate ill will and hurt feelings among friends than to tell someone that the beer they thought was pretty good is in fact dog piss.  So maybe we've just been lucky so far.  A few years ago (Minneapolis maybe) a guy came up to our booth at the end of the evening for last call, and told one of our members that his beer was the first one he had tasted, and it was so good that he wanted it to be the last one he tasted.  That was a good feeling.

Come to Baltimore next year.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: ethinson on July 21, 2015, 03:51:11 AM
I'm way late to this party, but after reading through them all I figured I'd add my 2 cents for what it's worth.

First off, I had an absolute blast at the conference.  I joined the AHA for the sole purpose of going to the conference.  Totally worth it.

I liked the seminars some better than others.  Some were too technical for a beginning brewer (which is on me, not the presenters, so no fault to them).  The only one I didn't like was the Intro to Experimentation one.  And the caveat is I loved the ideas they presented, I hated the WAY they presented it, joking off each other, comedy show, circus side show.  Not what I expected from a seminar, but apparently it is those two guys personalities.

Club Night was lackluster to me as well, but in all honesty I wasn't that excited about club night.  I know it's a homebrew conference, but I was excited to try all the San Diego local beers that we can't get even as close as Oregon, like Modern Times, Lost Abbey, Pizza Port etc etc.  Walking around Club Night and it seems like every other beer is a Rhubarb and Pluot Imperial Sour Saison with Brett at 12% ABV and it's like "What the....."  Plus being the night after the night before, I called it pretty early on Club Night.

The food choices AT the conference were abysmal.  We ventured out into the city and found some stuff that was incredible, like a steak and shrimp burrito that was only 6 bucks.  Also, that place was a freaking maze, having never been there and for the first day I couldn't find anything.  Finally figured it out the second and third day. I stayed at the Best Western across the street, which was surprisingly nice and 50$ a night cheaper than at the town and country.  I would have been loathe to pay that much for what sounds like an awful room.  I'd love to have the conference in San Diego again, but maybe a different location this time?

I loved the banquet, I thought the food was great and the beer was good, even if it didn't "pair".  Although I rather enjoyed the dessert with the espresso stout.  I thought it was good. When I was registering I didn't want to pay the extra 75$ for the banquet, but when it came down to it, my club had members in the finals, and most everyone else was going so it was another good chance to hang out with my club members.  Only one of our guys took home a medal, but that was OK. 

I won't make it to Baltimore due to other plans, but I will be excited to see where the 2017 Conference ends up, and those of us here in Oregon are already working hard to bring 2018 to Portland, so hopefully that happens too!
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: klickitat jim on July 21, 2015, 04:03:35 AM
I'm way late to this party, but after reading through them all I figured I'd add my 2 cents for what it's worth.

First off, I had an absolute blast at the conference.  I joined the AHA for the sole purpose of going to the conference.  Totally worth it.

I liked the seminars some better than others.  Some were too technical for a beginning brewer (which is on me, not the presenters, so no fault to them).  The only one I didn't like was the Intro to Experimentation one.  And the caveat is I loved the ideas they presented, I hated the WAY they presented it, joking off each other, comedy show, circus side show.  Not what I expected from a seminar, but apparently it is those two guys personalities.

Club Night was lackluster to me as well, but in all honesty I wasn't that excited about club night.  I know it's a homebrew conference, but I was excited to try all the San Diego local beers that we can't get even as close as Oregon, like Modern Times, Lost Abbey, Pizza Port etc etc.  Walking around Club Night and it seems like every other beer is a Rhubarb and Pluot Imperial Sour Saison with Brett at 12% ABV and it's like "What the....."  Plus being the night after the night before, I called it pretty early on Club Night.

The food choices AT the conference were abysmal.  We ventured out into the city and found some stuff that was incredible, like a steak and shrimp burrito that was only 6 bucks.  Also, that place was a freaking maze, having never been there and for the first day I couldn't find anything.  Finally figured it out the second and third day. I stayed at the Best Western across the street, which was surprisingly nice and 50$ a night cheaper than at the town and country.  I would have been loathe to pay that much for what sounds like an awful room.  I'd love to have the conference in San Diego again, but maybe a different location this time?

I loved the banquet, I thought the food was great and the beer was good, even if it didn't "pair".  Although I rather enjoyed the dessert with the espresso stout.  I thought it was good. When I was registering I didn't want to pay the extra 75$ for the banquet, but when it came down to it, my club had members in the finals, and most everyone else was going so it was another good chance to hang out with my club members.  Only one of our guys took home a medal, but that was OK. 

I won't make it to Baltimore due to other plans, but I will be excited to see where the 2017 Conference ends up, and those of us here in Oregon are already working hard to bring 2018 to Portland, so hopefully that happens too!
Portland would be awesome! Good luck with that, seriously
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: reverseapachemaster on July 21, 2015, 03:13:40 PM
Portland would be great. So much to do in the city and you can drive a few hours and get to other great locations around Oregon (and Washington).
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: yso191 on July 21, 2015, 03:31:32 PM
The crowd begins chanting "Portland, Portland..."
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on July 21, 2015, 03:38:58 PM
The crowd begins chanting "Portland, Portland..."
Can only hope someday this will be the chant for Portland, ME.  Breweries all over Maine, NH, MA, even VT is doable.  I just don't know if we have the homebrew club organization to get it done.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: a10t2 on July 21, 2015, 06:00:24 PM
Does the original Portland even have enough convention hotel rooms for 5,000 people?
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on July 21, 2015, 06:54:11 PM
The only one I didn't like was the Intro to Experimentation one.  And the caveat is I loved the ideas they presented, I hated the WAY they presented it, joking off each other, comedy show, circus side show.  Not what I expected from a seminar, but apparently it is those two guys personalities.

Sorry you didn't care for it.  To me, it was welcome relief from all the "take homebrewing too seriously" seminars.  And if you loved the info, then I guess we were successful.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: theDarkSide on July 21, 2015, 06:54:48 PM
Does the original Portland even have enough convention hotel rooms for 5,000 people?

Good point.  There are hotels but scattered around and most likely expensive in June.  Maybe Boston will have to be the New England destination...but that ain't cheap either.  But at least there are tons of hotels near either the Seaport World Trade Center or the Hynes Convention Center.  But again, $$$$$
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: dbeechum on July 21, 2015, 07:24:45 PM
The only one I didn't like was the Intro to Experimentation one.  And the caveat is I loved the ideas they presented, I hated the WAY they presented it, joking off each other, comedy show, circus side show.  Not what I expected from a seminar, but apparently it is those two guys personalities.

So Denny commented and now here I am, cause of course I am...

It's a tricky line to walk when you do a presentation between too showy/jokey and too dull/dry. I worked for a big entertainment company for a good long while, so I have an inherent bias towards trying to be more entertaining than dry/straight forward. (I think the information tends to stick better even though you can't get as much across.)

Denny, of course, is an old rock and roll roadie and bassist - I don't think he'd know straight if you gave him a yard stick, compass, plumb bob and a laser gyro.

Naturally, the silliness (even our stilted version of silly) isn't for everyone. But hopefully there was enough useful stuff in the midst of it all that it was still worthwhile.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 21, 2015, 09:00:52 PM
The only one I didn't like was the Intro to Experimentation one.  And the caveat is I loved the ideas they presented, I hated the WAY they presented it, joking off each other, comedy show, circus side show.  Not what I expected from a seminar, but apparently it is those two guys personalities.

So Denny commented and now here I am, cause of course I am...

It's a tricky line to walk when you do a presentation between too showy/jokey and too dull/dry. I worked for a big entertainment company for a good long while, so I have an inherent bias towards trying to be more entertaining than dry/straight forward. (I think the information tends to stick better even though you can't get as much across.)

Denny, of course, is an old rock and roll roadie and bassist - I don't think he'd know straight if you gave him a yard stick, compass, plumb bob and a laser gyro.

Naturally, the silliness (even our stilted version of silly) isn't for everyone. But hopefully there was enough useful stuff in the midst of it all that it was still worthwhile.

Those of us that know you two would be shocked and dumbfounded if you came out serious with a monotone pendanic delivery. Hey, you might try that for 2 minutes, then say, well that is pretty boring, and cut to the regularly scheduled Drew and Denny show.

Sorry I had to miss this years, I think I was introducing another speaker. Liked last years a bunch.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: denny on July 21, 2015, 09:03:44 PM
I've done straightforward, info only seminars at NHC before, as well as sat through them.  The doze factor is high.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: klickitat jim on July 22, 2015, 01:04:48 AM
I've done straightforward, info only seminars at NHC before, as well as sat through them.  The doze factor is high.
Death by PowerPoint
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: mchrispen on July 22, 2015, 02:44:36 AM
<insert a poorly formed joke at Denny's and Drew's expense here, with a slight innuendo toward Marshall>

I enjoyed it, but I also like Monty Python... so I have that going for me. Was great to have some fun...
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: Pinski on July 22, 2015, 02:37:33 PM
Does the original Portland even have enough convention hotel rooms for 5,000 people?

Not sure about ME, but Portland, OR is working on adding more rooms at the convention center site. 2018 would be very optimistic.
http://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/oregon-convention-center-hotel
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: udubdawg on July 22, 2015, 02:58:59 PM
after several years of attending, having seen most of the topics that are going to be covered, and knowing they'll be online shortly after the conference, I started just picking ones where the best beer would likely be served.  The Mead Panel was a no-brainer, and I think I had 7-8 pours of AleSmith Nut Brown and Speedway Stout at the final seminar on Saturday.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: pete b on July 22, 2015, 03:51:57 PM
Does the original Portland even have enough convention hotel rooms for 5,000 people?

Good point.  There are hotels but scattered around and most likely expensive in June.  Maybe Boston will have to be the New England destination...but that ain't cheap either.  But at least there are tons of hotels near either the Seaport World Trade Center or the Hynes Convention Center.  But again, $$$$$
Agreed, Boston would have some fantastic locations but I don't think people would be too happy with the price of lodging, food, and beer.
Title: Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
Post by: dbeechum on July 22, 2015, 04:33:46 PM
Yeah, there's a definite price sensitivity that's made getting back to the NorthEast really hard. We got lucky with Philly and the pricing thanks to the economic downturn. I'd personally love for us to get to New England since I miss it at times.