NHC 2013 Update:
I have NOT entered the 2013 National Homebrew Competition this year due to my disappointment with the AHA’s management of the registration process. I’ll try not to be too wordy with this but here is a brief synopsis of my experience (shared by many others I am sure):
- FEB 26th – Registration to open at 3 PM EST. Still waiting for registration email with regional links at 2:55PM.
- 3:00PM – Still no email, no hyperlinks on AHA website as well.
- 3:05PM – Find a post with the regional links in the AHA forums from Janis Gross in response to others saying “Where’s the email?” Her response: “You didn’t get that email? Crap!”
- Log in to NY region, register my name and address etc etc… no issues.
- 3:15PM – I can’t log in any beer entries.
- 3:20PM – See that theres 850+ entries for a 750 entry cap??? Think WTF.
- At 3:30 – I have to leave work to pick up the kids, so I give up and figure I’ll check it out later from home.
- 5:30PM – Log into to see that the registration is shut down due to major technical difficulties.
- I cruise some other forums on line to see discussion of people not being able to register, not being able to pay, having paid but listed as not paid, paying twice and others see the cap exceeded for # entries in many regions.
- The next day, an apologetic press release comes out. The AHA is deeply sorry. They are working to straighten out payment issues and they’ll reopen registration at a later date.
- MAR 3rd – I get an email from the AHA that states, “We see you registered early on FEB 26th but did not add any beers. We assume that you did not get to enter the competition due to the technical difficulties of the day.” A special new registration will open on MAR 6th (for people like me).
- I debated entering, ultimately because I said I would on the blog and I promised myself this year not to miss it I figured I would give it ONE shot.
- MAR 6th, 3 PM – Registration re-opens.
- I log in at 3:01PM, no problem.
- I add three beers, no problem.
- I hover my mouse over the AHA renewal button for an extra $38 dollars and think…. not yet.
- I hit the pay for entries button and go to the credit card form page, no problem.
- Enter all my info and credit #, hit submit at 3:15PM.
- ERROR page.
- I go back reenter one time, ERROR page.
- I’m out.
- I get an email from Ian Stevens, member services AHA at 4:30PM.
- “We see you logged in and attempted to pay but failed. We experienced a problem with the payment system during a small window after registration opened. That problem has been fixed and we want all that have registered entries to get a shot at entering. Please pay now to reserve your spot.”
- I politely reply: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. You want me to go for a third time??? Wow.”
- I log back in and delete my three entries.
I’ll close with this:
I have been listening to podcasts such as The Brewing Network and Basic Brewing Radio for over 6 years. I have also listened to and read things from brewing greats like Jamil Zainasheff, John Palmer, Gordon Strong, and many others. The NHC comp has always been this pinnacle of brewing competitions to me. The AHA is a paramount organization that all other brewing clubs rally around. Perhaps I let the NHC get to built up in my head, but I am extremely disappointed that the AHA failed to handle this process better in advance; but moreover, had it corrected for the second submission date. You’re either a premiere homebrewing organization, or you’re just another local outfit that does the best it can.
The AHA is a great organization that supports the cause of homebrewing across the country. I told Ian Stevens that I’ll still support the AHA, but that I’ll just be doing it from the sidelines this year. I’d rather spend my $50 dollars of entry fees on brewing. Call it voting with your wallet, if you will. Hopefully they’ll actually learn from their mistakes this year and get it right next year. Maybe I’ll try again then. I’ll hold no long term gripe, but for this year I’m out.
FEB 3 2013 Original Post:
This post is probably more for me than it is for you, dear reader. Well, maybe the reminder portion of this post.
Every year I vow to submit a couple beers to the American Homebrewing Association’s National Homebrew Competition.
However, it always creeps up on my memory and by the time I go to check the website, I’ve missed the registration deadline.
But not this year! This year I’ll be sure to submit to the National Homebrew Competition 2013. Online registration begins February 26th at 3PM EST. From what I have heard in past years, it’s important to know what beers you are registering and get on the ball because the first round judging sites fill up quickly. You might be able to ship to a different site other than your first choice, but then your shipping costs may go up. I guess NY will be my location of cchoice.
Entries require two 12 oz bottles.
Entries are accepted at the specific shipping/drop off locales between March 18 and the 27th.
A maximum of 15 entries per person has been imposed this year. (I am not submitting that many, maybe two).
They haven’t posted the official rules PDF yet, so I couldn’t figure out what the entry fee was. However, I did see they upped the fee by $2 per entry.
I am not hoping to place and/or win, but that isn’t my intent. My hope is to see if the quality of the feedback I get from the NHC is better than any “standard” competition that’s around. I hope to send in some Oatmeal Stout and maybe the Falconers Flight IPA because it will be the freshest thing I have on had at that point… but I could brew something else up in time. We’ll see.
What say you? Any fellow competitors out there?