This year’s conference is ANHC 3 – and we’ve themed it around the number three and the idea of “triple strength”. The screaming success of the first two conferences gave us the confidence and resources to go for broke with ANHC 3 and the result is essentially a case of bigger, better and more.
Each conference the ANHC pays to bring in keynote presenters from the international home-brewing arena, this year we’ve doubled the quota from two to four international keynotes. Past conferences have tended to look mostly to the massive home-brewing scene in the US for presenters… this year we made an effort to deliberately target presenters from other parts of the world, too. A shift from strictly “home-brewing” personalities has allowed us to dip into the red hot brewing world of Scandinavia and New Zealand with Christian Skovdal Anderson from Beer Here and Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys, whilst still tapping the incredible pool of US talent for the likes of Firestone Walker’s Matt Brynildson and ascendant home-brewing guru Kai Troester.
The success of the previous conferences has also attracted an increased interest from presenters who have a commercial interest to represent – We’ll see conference favourites Chris White of Whitelabs Yeast, John Herskovits from 5 Star Chemicals and Jess Caudill of Wyeast back for another round, with return visits from past conference presenter John Palmer and a special video link up with home-brewing god and Heretic Brewing owner/brewer Jamil Zainasheff. A number of these fine brewing folk are bringing beer – beer for conference attendees to drink – beer that you can’t get here, haven’t had before and may not get again…. and that’s before we talk about the exclusive beers that are being brewed especially for the conference by brewers big and small!
We don’t lack for local brewing talent either with Brendan Varis of Feral here to talk us through Feral’s Sour and Barrel Program and help us taste their Watermelon Warhead Berliner Weiss.
And that’s just the big wheels of the brewing world – we have so many local presenters we’ve had to run the conference as two parallel streams. Two big rooms, all full of brewing information, all the time! There’s everything from professional sensory education and a panel discussion about formal brewing education, to a repeat of the popular System Wars smackdown. This year its tied together with popular home-brewing podcast Basic Brewing Radio and Brew Your Own magazine as a part of their ongoing series of collaborative experiments.
Continuing our idea that we should showcase some “other things” that might also be of interest to the type of people who tend to become home-brewers, we have sessions on sausage-making with Josie Bones’ Chris Badenoch and meat smoking by chef/homebrewer extraordinaire Jeff Wyant. We’ll also have a special introduction to the fabulous beverage Sake and the world of Japanese brewing with Sake Master Andre Bishop (Kumo Izakaya, Izakaya Chuji, Nihonshu Sake and Sochu Bar) who’ll guide us Sake newbies through a tasting or two.
Feedback from the previous conferences told us that we might just be getting a little too technical….. not all home-brewers are so far gone that they only want presentations on the biochemical minutia of the brewing process. Some just want a bit of solid and basic advice on how to improve their brewing or take the next step. So we have set aside our parallel room on Saturday afternoon for our Beginners Sessions. Not just for beginners, the sessions are a focused and practical set of sessions from both local brewing wise men and a selection of our international luminaries on how to improve your beer. Available as separate package, the Beginners Sessions are a conference within the conference for the people who just want to boost the pace of their progress down the brewing path a little.
Social Social – Other feedback told us that while people liked both of our two formal dinners at ANHC 2, what really rocked their boat was our Beer Matching dinner and oh my yes… Club Night!! So we ditched one of the dinners in order to make more room for the other stuff.
Keeping the vital bits from our awards dinner and amping up the good bits from the Beer Matching dinner is the new bigger, better and longer Gala Awards Dinner at Maia (Central pier Docklands). With the presentation of the AABC awards, dinner speakers, entertainment and six – count ’em six – beers brewed by some of Australia’s leading home-brewers and matched to food specially prepared by the team at Maia – its going to be a night not just for home-brewers, but beer lovers, food lovers and everyone else too.
The subtraction of one dinner of course, leaves the Saturday Night completely free for the fabulousness of Club Night. This time fully catered and open for both regular conference delegates and their friends to attend, this year we can share the love a little further. If you were there at ANHC 2, you know what we mean, if you weren’t, you missed out. It went off with a bang last time, this time it might go super nova.
Industry Day – It seemed selfish to keep the brewing talent and knowledge that ANHC was bringing to town, to only our home-brewing selves. So we’ve organised a day to share the wealth with our pro-brewing brothers and sisters. A mix of local experts and our ANHC international guests – industry day will be about enhancing skills and knowledge, and firing up the imagination and inspiration of our wonderful local brewers. Timed to coincide with the Thursday (Oct 25th) session of the Victorian Micro Breweries Showcase, ANHC Industry Day will be held all day at Federation Square and finish just in time for our brewers to have a beer and then wander down to man the stalls at the showcase.
Speaking of the showcase….. our conference attendees get a discounted entry to the showcase and ANHC will even have a stall where we will be pouring homebrew to entice the punters over to the darkside of making it yourself.
Bigger, Better, More.