Author Topic: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review  (Read 4703 times)

Online dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2014, 11:02:35 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 ;)
I did forget about the lack of labels.. It was only a minor annoyance for me.  I didn't bring any but I just pre filled out my sheets while waiting for judge assignments.

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

I didn't stick around to see anything else going on.  I didn't even talk to other tables while I was up there.  I basically just hammered out out flight and jetted.. Didn't even do mini-BOS so I can't comment on anything else. I finished right when the expo was opening and figured I would just head down there ;-)
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2014, 11:20:20 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 ;)

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

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

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

Ms. R, the head steward, will appreciate your comments on the awesome stewards.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2014, 12:09:13 PM »
I'll post a few of my I observations as well. Let it 've known this was my second conference as I was in Philly last year.

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

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

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

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

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

Offline denny

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2014, 02:18:31 PM »
Re: the sound...if they would have flown a small line array to focus the sound it would have gone a long way.  The small JBL speakers they had distributed around the room just made things worse.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2014, 05:03:16 PM »
I'll post a few of my I observations as well. Let it 've known this was my second conference as I was in Philly last year.

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

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

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

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

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

Except for what the locals call the June gloom. It was chilly and overcast until afternoon. I will bring a vest.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline srankert

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2014, 05:17:14 PM »


Positives
1 - our stewards were awesome
2 - 2nd beers from the cellar were retrieved very, very quickly
3 - plenty of cups, sheets, etc - again, our stewards were awesome
4 - no egos at our table - well, except mine
5 - our stewards were awesome ;)
Yes, the Stewards were Amazingly Awesome!
(And they usually do it with little or no recognition or credit.)
My crew rocked!!!!
BTW, I was told (more than once) that I was "scary". But I was just trying to keep things flowing while putting out fires.
The table stewards worked their asses off.

Offline turkishrock

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2014, 05:49:21 PM »
It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.
That was my lambic, and no, it didn't win. But thanks for the vote of confidence, and San Diego for sure...
Doug

Offline fatguybrew

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2014, 06:08:06 PM »
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

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

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

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

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2014, 06:30:03 PM »
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

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

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

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

One difference was that very few AHA events were in the Hotel(s) this year. There were 2 wedding parties in the Amway Grand on Saturday night.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2014, 06:34:42 AM »
The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

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

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

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

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

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

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

« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 07:53:46 AM by theDarkSide »
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Online dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2014, 06:45:26 AM »
I'm firmly in the 'not a club' camp.  I would be fine if they changed the name to local club of the year and eliminated all these larger national/international entities.  Sure let people enter beers under them if they want but they really shouldn't be allowed to compete for the club of the year.  To me it just ruins the spirit of the award.  I would say the BN winning it every year is the black mark.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2014, 06:53:25 AM »
The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree that BN won fair and square under the rules that take virtual clubs into account.
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Online dkfick

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2014, 06:59:07 AM »
Oh for sure there was not cheating or anything like that.  It was a fair win.  I just don't agree with the rules as they stand.  I think it just takes some of the fun out of the award.  I could see the other really big clubs also winning it over and over... but at least you kind of know what you're up against vs some big virtual monster that can have all sorts of random amounts of people entering. 
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2014, 07:54:46 AM »
Maybe they need an Internet Club of The Year award...they could call it "The Al Gore" :D
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2014, 08:05:43 AM »
in 1997 my club (formerly known as Derby Brew Club) won COTY with less than 20 members.  That was a different time, that is for sure...

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

anyway...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

see you in cloudy San Diego!
--Michael