Thursday, June 27, 2013

NHC Banquet and Award Ceremony

After a long and amazing blur of a week in Seattle for the NHC, the big finale arrives with a bang.  For those who take the time to go the NHC--make sure to sign up for the banquet!  And get in line early so you can sit with friends.  On the positive side, there are usually plenty of amazing homebrews and commercial beers being shared in line since no one wants to cart them back home.
Line of doom!
After finding yourself a spot at a table, the AHA big-wigs will give a talk and announce the winners of raffles, followed by a talk from Sean Paxton the Homebrew Chef.  Most of the food includes beer or hops in the recipe and are all paired with beers.  This year's food was even better than when I had it in Minnesota. 
The chef really outdid himself with the desert:  Trifle (pudding) with Russian Imperial stout doughnut.  Wow!  Unfortunately we were all feeling a bit full and bloated by then and I was unable to finish mine.  Wasting amazing dessert sucks.

Just before the trifle beats up Drew

John Maier from Rogue has been a big sponsor of the banquet for years and usually gives a brief talk and furnishes 3-6 different beers for the event.  This year he went above and beyond by brewing up a batch with Denny Conn and bottling that up just for us!  By the time that beer and the Old Crustacean were out I was soooo done with beer.

Once we are all fat and happy, (how could you not be after all that food and beer,) the sponsors are thanked and the National Homebrew Competition second round winners and brewer, cider and meadmakers of the year.  My table was skunked this year, with none of us taking home any bling, but a couple of the MHBA and St. Paul guys took home some medals.  Congrats guys from Minnesota!  The club of the year is always a big deal, and this year was taken again by the Brewing Network.  It was quite interesting how half the crowd went crazy and the other half were conspicuously not clapping.  Justin Crossly and his cohorts took the stage and he said something along the line of, "Do you hear that?  That's the sound of the rules changing soon..."  Overall the combination of good food, beers and excitement make this an event not to be missed.  Next year is in Philly...who's going?

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