Author Topic: 2015 NHC Impressions  (Read 5672 times)

Offline toby

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #45 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.

Offline a10t2

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2015, 02:59:47 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!
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Offline tonyccopeland

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #47 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...

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Offline brulosopher

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #48 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!

Offline 69franx

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #49 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
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #50 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.  ;)
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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #51 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.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #52 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.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #53 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.

Offline rjharper

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #54 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!!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 01:48:13 PM by rjharper »

Offline udubdawg

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #55 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...

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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.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 02:30:26 PM by udubdawg »

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #56 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.

Offline rjharper

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #57 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.


Offline rjharper

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #58 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.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« Reply #59 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:

« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 02:58:09 PM by theDarkSide »
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