The day started off with the final round judging of the National Homebrewers Competition and honestly it was a little disjointed. Apparently there was some glitch in the software system and some judges were not assigned flights despite having high ranks. Even our table had to grab a high-ranking judge to complete the assignment and judge the flight. As it turns out the caliber of the beers was higher than normal and I actually had 70% of the beers which were awesome and only 30% stinkers. Typically those numbers are reversed.

Before it all started I checked in and then later picked up my commemorative beers and some schwag. One beer is Founders Oak Aged Rye IPA and the other is Bell’s Beer Michigan Barleywine Ale.

In the afternoon the seminar sessions started and I attended two of them. I started with the The Influence of Mashing on Sour Beer Production by Michael Tonsmeire and while it was good, it would have been better if he had served some beers to demonstrate his points. The next seminar was a last-minute fill in by Ron Pattinson and Paul Langlie entitled The Homebrewer’s Guide To Vintage Beer. The talk was very nice, but BURP had brewed some of the recipes from Ron’s research and IMO they took too many liberties with the recreation which were not based in fact, rather on financial concerns. Why bother? Do it right or don’t do it at all. Another seminar which would have benefited from serving examples of the beers being discusses.

I was tired and skipped the third seminar section in favor of some slumber, but went to the Welcome Reception which was probably very nice for those who arrived the minute it opened, but kinda sucked it you came in 20 minutes after. We waited in line for a half hour only to find out all the food was gone. In truth there were a few morsels left, but mostly it was pigs in a blanket and some sort of reuben stand-in which I wouldn’t serve my dog if I had one. My fault for not arriving early.

From there it was on to the BNA9 party. If you attended BNA8 in Philly you know just how FUBAR that event turned out to be. It was a soup sandwich. I was expecting similar this year and in truth the fest was nothing short of phenomenal. It was crazy beautiful with something like 1,500 people in a baseball stadium and never felt crowded and allowed you the chance to have all the beer you could stand. There was all the food you could eat, all the beer you could drink, and games on the infield. I heard someone say the VIP ticket was not worth it, but I can attest the standard ticket was worth every single penny.

Friday is a full day of seminars followed by club night which should be a blast.