Category Archives: Events

First Timer’s Thoughts on NHC 2014

Want to hear my thoughts on our first trip to the 2014 National Homebrewers Conference?  Keep reading.
We always do a long weekend trip somewhere each summer that is typically within driving distance from our home on the northeast side of Indianapolis.  I’m always looking for ways to incorporate beer into that trip.  I somehow tricked my wife into coming with me by telling her it would be our weekend getaway for the summer.  One of the things that did help get her excited was reading letter to the editor from the wife of a homebrewer in the November/December 2013 Issue of Zymurgy that talked about how it was cool when women attend NHC.

This was my first realistic chance to attend NHC, since I’ve started brewing.  Although a bit pricey from the outside, I can say for a true beer geek, it is worth the cost of admission.  I’m just going to give a review of our trip from a newbie’s perspective and try to keep it as short as possible.

I’ll start with the evening events, then the seminars, the equipment and then some other highlights.

Difficulty: level_1

If you have made it this far, please continue.

Evening Events

Welcome Reception (formerly, Pro-Brewers Night)

010-Welcome Reception Beer List

Overall, we were disappointed in the welcome reception for two reasons.

One, those serving the beer were merely employees of the convention hall and couldn’t answer anything about the beers they were serving.  Perhaps there is a good reason for it, but it would have been nice if each beer served had representation from the brewery that made it.  At a minimum, it would have been helpful for each beer to have an explanation beyond just a name and type.

Two, honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the offerings.  Nothing really blew me away.

It was cool that almost all the breweries represented were from Michigan, but again, no representation.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that!

Club Night


Ok, so as disappointed as we were in the welcome reception, we loved Club Night.  Almost everything I tried was spectacular or was at least something I had never before tasted.  Variations on mead, a Braggot, Kombucha and some other interesting twists.  We only made it to about a third of the booths, because we were having such a good time talking to the brewers, meeting new people and trying the beer.  Before we knew it, the lights were dimming and we all reluctantly (but politely) vacated the premises.

010-WHALES Menu

Some of my most memorable beers were from the W.H.A.L.E.S. Brew Club, where one brewer (last name Hansen) was showcasing some historic beers.  The one that blew me away the most was the 1839 XXX based on Ron Pattinson’s 1839 Barclay Perkins XXX.  I think brewing historic beers is going to me my next venture into beers I’ve never tasted before.


We also had a nice long conversation with a recently engaged couple from Kansas City.  They were from the Kansas City Bier Meisters.  The women (Amanda) was a like minded engineer and she had an excellent beer on tap called Face Melter (Imperial Dark Saison).  And yes it was!

Awards Banquet

I heard it was great, but being a dad is kind of a big deal to me, so we packed up the mini van and headed home so we could get back in time to see our kids again and be well rested for the Father’s Day activities the next day.

I’ll be breaking my thoughts into a few posts:

Part 1: Evening Events (This post)
Part 2: Seminars
Part 3: Homebrew Expo
Part 4: Other highlights and parting thoughts

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Fermware goes to NHC 2014

Congratulations to Kevin Torok.  He is the winner of the $25 gift card!

Click here to read my thoughts on our first NHC.

Note: The contest for the gift card is over.

Keep reading for a chance to win an gift card.

My wife and I are really excited to attend our first American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference this week in Grand Rapids Michigan.  We’ll be sporting red and blue shirts, so if you see us, please stop us and say hi.  We hope to make some new friends and hopefully others that we can work with on some future DIY’s and R&D projects I’ve been working on.

We don’t have a minute-by-minute schedule laid out yet (very unlike me).  Besides checking out the latest and greatest brewing equipment and gadgets, we plan on attending some seminars, going to each evening’s events and doing some outside activities like taking a bike ride in the Heritage Hill District and visiting some of the local breweries.

For a chance to win a $25 gift card, all you need to do is to make a comment on this post about your favorite piece(s) of equipment you saw at NHC or a piece of equipment you would like to learn more about or how to make yourself.  If you didn’t make it to NHC 2014 or you just like the site, please feel free to comment anyway and get entered.

While you are here, go ahead and check out some other posts or do some shopping at through links on this site to keep us going.  As always, don’t worry, your purchases are anonymous, so don’t worry, I won’t come to your house asking to borrow your Chuck Norris Facts book.  Actually, I already own it and it makes me laugh every time I open it.  Those jokes never get old.


Terms and conditions of giveaway:

  1. Entry period will be from the time this post goes live until 11:59 PM EST on Monday, June 23rd, 2014.
  2. Winner will be announced on this post by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014.
  3. Entries/comments will only be used for this contest and will not be added to any mailing lists or passed on to any third parties.