NHC 2011 Wrap-Up

On June 22, 2011, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Travel, by Mark Ranes
Table 30 at the Awards Ceremony

Table 30, with my favorite people, at the Awards Ceremony

We returned from NHC to blistering heat (over 100 degrees) in the San Joaquin Valley.  On top of that, our air conditioner crapped out, and we spent a very hot, restless night before a repair dude made it to our house yesterday.  All is good again!

The trip home for NHC was long, but uneventful.  After a couple days to detoxify my liver, I’ve had time to reflect on some of the things I learned at NHC 2011.

I learned that I can attended a three day beer conference and not over-imbibe, even though beer is available from 9:00 am to 2:00 am.  Never once did I have next-day blues from alcohol.  Every day, I had next-day blues from lack of sleep. The NHC conference is definitely a marathon event:)

My Bronze Medal for the American Barleywine

My Bronze Medal for the American Barleywine

I learned what pride is.  Pride is being on a stage, receiving a medal for your brewing accomplishments, in front of the people who love you the most.  Nine of the ten people at my Grand Banquet and Awards Ceremony table were actively rooting for my ales, maybe even more than I was.  The look in their faces when my name was called meant more than the actual bronze medal.  They were proud and happy for me like they themselves had actually won!  I love you guys:)

I learned the power of social media.  The kudos I received via Twitter and Facebook were amazing.  Some of my Twitter buddies could be heard cheering from other places in the banquet room.  That was cool!

We are already planning on attending next year’s NHC in Seattle.  Family in Oregon that we can visit, the huge beer culture in Oregon, and the fact that I haven’t been to Seattle since I was a child, are all huge draws.  I’m planning on setting up a brewing schedule, that favors competition entries for next year’s NHC, in the next couple weeks. Additionally, I’m going to bottle some of the winning barleywine and see how it matures over the year.  It would be interesting to submit it again next year and see how it scores.

If you are a homebrewer, and you’ve never been to a National Homebrewers Conference, start saving your pennies now!  Next year’s conference in Seattle should be killer!

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