Articles from: July 2012

Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience June 8-9, 2012

Savor Craft Brew Festival

Savor Craft Brew Festival

There’s a saying in government, that “All politics is local.” To independent brewers, all craft beer is local, or regional. What one part of the country enjoys drinking differs greatly from any other, for the most part, but all are craft beers and are a reflection of their communities. Unfortunately, sometimes beer aficionados never have an opportunity to sample great beers from parts unknown. So much beer, so little time…

So, when a governing body like the Brewers Association (based in Boulder, Colorado) holds a centrally-located beer and food event like the annual “Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” in Washington D.C., craft beer drinkers everywhere rejoice. And with good reason. Where else do you have an opportunity to sample 100 amazing beers from 50 of the nation’s most dynamic craft beer makers, along with tantalizingly good food – all in the confines of a magnificent structure like Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum? We first learned of the event from the short-lived Discovery Television show, “Brewmasters,” that followed the day-to-day trials of maverick beer maker Sam Caligione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Sam unveiled his Bitches Brew (a tribute to the Miles Davis jazz album) at Savor in 2010. We made a vow that if we ever had a chance to get tickets (this year’s event sold out in about five minutes) we would make it a point to go.

National Building Museum

National Building Museum

Through patience and diligence we scored tickets in that five-minute window of opportunity. We felt like Charlie grabbing the last Golden Ticket after opening the Wonka Bar. Heck, with luck like this I am fully convinced that we need to play the lotto—very soon.

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Savor is a celebration, taste contest and marketing opportunity all wrapped up in one. With around 2000 guests, 50 craft beer makers and scores of media and other beer savvy types all in attendance, the atmosphere can seem a bit daunting. But before we fill our pint glasses, I’d like to talk about a special tasting event that took place prior to the doors opening at 7 p.m. Stone Brewing Company Co-founder Steve Wagner was kind enough to host a Stone Vertical Epic Series tasting event in one of the side rooms of the museum. Wagner talked briefly about Stone Beer and its history while offering generous sample pours of some of Stone’s vintage Vertical Epic beers, including the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. To our surprise, each of the beers has stood the test of time. This is due in part to the high alcohol content and bottling, which is something to keep in mind when purchasing limited edition beers that you may want to shelve and enjoy down the road. During the show we chatted with Steve’s wife Laura, who is not only friendly and accommodating, but also enjoys discussing craft beer as much as her husband. After the show she introduced us to Steve. Spending a few moments together talking beer and music, Steve is arguably one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you could ever meet – and he knows a thing or two about beer.  To listen to any of the salons held during the 2012 Savor event go to CraftBeerRadio.com.

So, then it was on to the main event. Walking down the stairs to the main floor we stopped to get our bearings. Circumnavigating an event of this size takes planning and patience. There’s no way you can ever sample all beers available at each station (plus each food sampling), so the best strategy is to pick and choose among the most interesting beers and seek them out. Also, time is not on your side. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., so making the best of those four hours is essential. We enjoyed a good cross section of beer, some good, some very good and some that fell flat in terms of taste and complexity. Every brewer whom we spoke to was very friendly and engaging, and was willing to spend a brief moment or two talking about their product (Sam Caligione, the rock star “mad scientist” of Dogfish Head, was there at the beginning of the event but left some time later in the evening). It should also be noted that each attendee was given a large bottle of Terra Incognita, a special collaboration beer brewed specifically for the event by Boulevard Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing. The following is a comprehensive list of the beers we tried. Again, you can’t do them all…so you do what you can:

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Craft Beer Sampled:

  • B-Craft Black Double IPA    Arcadia Black IPA
  • Sky High Rye   Arcadia Rye Ale
  • Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale    Boulevard Brewing Co. Saison
  • Brooklyn BLAST!    Brooklyn Brewery Pale Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Fuel    Capitol City Brewing Co. Stout
  • Kalevipoeg    Cigar City Brewing Baltic Porter
  • Barrel Aged Barley Wine Brewery    Coronado Brewing Company Barley Wine
  • Noble Rot Dogfish Head Brewing
  • Head Hunter IPA   Fat Heads Brewery IPA
  • Sorcerer    Fat Heads Brewery Belgian Style Ale
  • Curmudgeon Old Ale  Founders Brewing Company Strong/Old Ale
  • Black Mocha Stout    Highland Brewing Co. Stout
  • Razor Wit     Highland Brewing Co. Witbier
  • Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter    Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery ESB
  • Kalifornia Kolsch     Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery  Kolsch
  • Double Wit Blackberry    Mother Earth Brewing Witbier
  • Belgo   New Belgium Brewing IPA
  • Tart Lychee   New Belgium Brewing  Wild Ale
  • Believer    Ninkasi Brewing Company Double Red Ale
  • Total Domination IPA    Ninkasi Brewing Company IPA
  • Dirtoir Black Lager    Rogue Ales & Spirits Black Lager
  • Chatoe Rogue Good Chit     Rogue Ales & Spirits Pilsner
  • American IPA     Schlafly IPA
  • 2IPA    Standing Stone Brewing Co.  IPA
  • Noble Stout    Standing Stone Brewing Co. Stout
  • Highway 78 Scotch Ale aged in Scotch Barrels     Stone Brewing Co. Scotch Ale
  • HOP Notch IPA    Uinta Brewing Company IPA
  • Labyrinth     Uinta Brewing Company Style : Black Ale
  • 50 Cat     Vintage 50 Brewery IPA
  • Yazoo Fortuitous      Yazoo Brewing Smoked Sour Ale
  • Yazoo Rye Saison      Yazoo Brewing Saison

It is quite an impressive list. You’d travel a long way and spend a long time trying them all, but we were fortunate to enjoy every last one of them in one evening. By the end of the night our palates could take no more of the onslaught. The beer and food took its toll, in a good way, so we wandered the floor one last time, looked around longingly at all the incredible beer just waiting to be sampled, hoping by some miracle we had room for just one more taste of this or a sample of that. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Savor is all that it’s billed up to be, and more. With any luck we’ll try to make it back here again.

Side note: We also experienced some of the local flavors of D.C. during the Thursday and Friday we were there. The following is a list of some of the beers we enjoyed at several restaurants in the city:

  • Graffiato (Thursday afternoon):  Pork Slap Farmhouse Ale paired with a Burrata and White House pizza
  • District of Pi Pizzeria (Schlafly Brewing Co. tap takeover, late Thursday afternoon): Pumkin Ale, Christmas Ale, Export IPA, Bier de Garde, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (our favorite of all the beers we tried that weekend.)
  • Church Key Restaurant (Thursday night):  Allgash Curieux, Backin’ Black IPA, Son Of A Pooch, 16 Mile IPA, Mirror Pond 30, Snack Attack, Jean Ribaut 20, Kujo Nitro, Wookey Jack, Flying Dog Cask Disobedience Abbey Dubbel, Exportation 21

Graffiato BurrataPi Schlafly Tap TakeoverThe Capital
 

Wanderlushes

Instagram

Right Column Widgets

Welcome to the Right Column for the Evening Shade theme. You can put a variety of widgets in this location and to manage where they are published in your site, you can download the Widget logic plugin.