Author Topic: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review  (Read 5612 times)

Offline srankert

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2014, 07:41:11 AM »
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 ! )

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2014, 07:49:56 AM »
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.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline dsmitch19

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2014, 07:51:06 AM »
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. :)
Cheers!
Dennis Mitchell
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Offline dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2014, 07:56:53 AM »
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. 
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Offline dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2014, 08:00:08 AM »
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.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2014, 08:13:28 AM »
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.) 

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2014, 08:47:21 AM »
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.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2014, 08:50:41 AM »
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...
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2014, 08:52:22 AM »
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.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2014, 08:55:04 AM »
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.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2014, 09:07:47 AM »
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!
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline bluesman

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2014, 09:44:18 AM »
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!
Ron Price

Offline dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2014, 09:53:10 AM »
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+
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Offline bluesman

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2014, 10:05:14 AM »
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!
Ron Price

Offline MDixon

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2014, 10:13:20 AM »
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 ;)


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