The tenth-annual Savor Event—dubbed “an American craft beer and food experience”—took place earlier this month in Washington, DC, where 86 indie brewers descended upon the city’s National Building Museum for two days of glorious craft beer hedonism. The brewers served a total of 172 beers, each paired with a small plate designed for each brew—though truthfully, it was more like a wide arsenal of dishes that paired nicely with different beers that shared some underlining flavor similarities (less a criticism and more a consequence of hosting such a massive event).
Big names were noticeable, including New Belgium, Sam Adams, Deschutes, Allagash, New Holland, and Sierra Nevada, as were the littler guys, everyone from Bend, OR’s Crux Fermentation Project, a cadre of DC brewers, and more than a handful of cult beer makers. Sours and goses were a definite trend, as were imperial ales, big and boisterous barrel-aged monsters, and a few oddballs like the Albino Stout (a white version of the traditionally ink-black style from The Butcher and the Brewer), and a version of the Deschutes Abyss aged in brandy barrels. And Smuttynose served a great Blackberry Shortweiss that paired perfectly with the spicy lamb tartare with tamarind and Thai basil. Some were crazy-rare and in high demand; Allagash ran out of Uncommon Crow (a fruited American sour ale)—and fast. Other brewers went the other direction, presenting flagship brews that already populate most of DC’s discerning beer-buying spots.
All in all, it was a dizzying, overwhelming success, once again highlighting the questionable plight of your humble beer writer: how to try everything, and stay on your own two feet? I didn’t make it through them all, and can confirm that an evening of sampling small pours of outstanding beers and eating…just a little too little…can definitely sneak up on you.
Here are a few that stood out, as well as a bit more about the event itself, which is held annually at the start of June and is accompanied by beer events and tap take-overs throughout the city.