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Thursday, June 9, 2011


So, Dear Citizens, I attended the Savor event in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 4th with pretty high expectations in my mind.  After all, with 72 craft breweries pouring 144 of their most food-friendly brews, a guy has to wonder how an event like this could go wrong.  Of course I couldn't possibly try all of those beers, nor the 42 different food pairings engineered by chefs Adam Dulye of The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco and Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore's Gastropub in D.C.  If I had entered a celebration like SAVOR with full-on notebook, voice recorder, and forensic sketch artist, I couldn't have enjoyed the event to its fullest extent.  That being said, I did manage to snap some cell phone pictures (tweeted @FermentNation) and take some mental notes on the brews.  Here are my best recollections:Rogue: Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale (Pale Ale): Richer than most pale ales I've had.  Very smooth! Read about it: HERE.  Sadly, they were all out of Rogue Creamery 75th Ale : ( But I did get a chance to meet Sebbie Buhler. Sebbie worked for Rogue for around 20 years and IS the face of Chocolate Stout.  Great lady.  See you in Portland!

Diamond Bear: Two Term Double IPA: Extremely smooth for a double.  Pretty big, but not too big.
Diamond Bear Paradise Porter: Superbly done.  I love a roasty porter that maintains body while finishing dry! Read about it: HERE.

Crown Valley Wooden Nickel IPA: ultra drinkable.  There are so many out there, but I wouldn't mind having this one available 'round these parts.
Crown Valley Big Bison Ale (Dubbel): Whoa.  That's sooo smooth.  Read about Crown Valley's beers: Beer Menu.

Founders Double Trouble (Double IPA):  Big, aromatic, sticky.  Hop party in my mouth. Read for yourself: Double Trouble
Founders KBS: Somebody put this on a "most overrated" list.  Wrong.  It's massively stout with a barrel-aged bourbon essence.  Chocolate and coffee stand out, but the oak imparts a touch of vanilla.  Probably the most notable of the food pairings, perfect with a double chocolate bread pudding.  KBS (KBS Description).

Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout: Classic creamy stout with smooth body and accessible toasty flavor.  Check it out: Oatmeal Stout Description
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale: Simply drinkable.  That's a good thing.  Want to know more: READ THE BREWER'S FULL DESCRIPTION

Coranado Brewing Company Idiot IPA: A large IPA that remains drinkable.  Hoppy, naturally. BREWERY'S DESCRIPTION
Coranado Red Devil:  Drinkable seems to be their m.o.  Red Devil is a hefty 9% but you'd NEVER know. Red Devil Description from the Brewery

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy:  As dark and massive as stouts get.  Still maintains the roasted character, however, even at 10.5% abv.  http://www.oskarblues.com/the-brews/ten-fidy
Oskar Blues Gubna:  Imperial IPA made exclusively with Summit hops at all stages of brewing.  Stupidly flavorful in a citrusy, malty, hoppy way.  Oh, and 10% abv. http://www.oskarblues.com/the-brews/gubna

Firestone Walker Parabola: This barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout is... Ho...lee...cow.  Bigger than most beers you'll ever stumble across.  Massive brew (13% or so) that's worth a taste if you can find it. http://www.firestonebeer.com/beers/products/parabola

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale: Roasted Pecans function as a grain and soft Southern water impart a depth to the body.  One of the richest 4.9% brews you'll ever drink.  Perfectly paired with banana bread.  http://lazymagnolia.com/ourbeer.php

The Bruery Loakal Red:  Interesting red ale, made more complex by oak aging.  I'll definitely seek this one out at the store.  http://www.thebruery.com/beers/YearRound/loakalred.html
The Bruery Mischief: Strong and golden.  Yeah, that about sums it up.  http://www.thebruery.com/beers/YearRound/mischief.html

Yards ESA:  Supremely drinkable.  Nearly perfect session beer. http://www.yardsbrewing.com/ales_extra-special.asp
Yards Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale:  Supremely golden and rich.  Reminds me of a slightly jacked-up maibock.  http://www.yardsbrewing.com/ales_thomas-jeffersons-tavern.asp

Smuttynose Robust Porter: I've had this one plenty of times, but I just couldn't resist another sip.  It's that good.  http://www.smuttynose.com/beers/full_time_beers/robust_porter.html

Flying Fish Exit 4 American Tripel:  Outstanding beverage.  Sweetish with a hoppy tang. http://www.flyingfish.com/beers/exit_4.html

Short's Brewing Company Spruce Pilsner: Imperial Spruce pops the tastebuds into an enchanted forest.  worth a taste if you can find it. http://www.shortsbrewing.com/beer/our-portfolio/the-imperial-beer-series-of-2007/
Short's Anniversary Ale: This Blood Orange Wheatwine is powerfully original and intriguing.  I would definitely include this in a flight, but it's a little too much for a full pour.  Check it out: http://www.shortsbrewing.com/beer/our-portfolio/specialty-beers/anniversary-ale/

Great Lakes Holy Moses White Ale: Cool white ale with coriander that pops but doesn't distract.  I love Great Lakes stuff.  All of it. http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beer/an-exceptional-family-of-beers/seasonal/holy-moses-white-ale
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter: Roasty flavors, medium body, drinkable all night.  I might serve this at my wedding. http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beer/an-exceptional-family-of-beers/year-round/edmund-fitzgerald-porter

New Holland Golden Cap Saison: Cool take on the farmhouse style.  Ferment Nation has given it good reviews... check out what New Holland has to say: http://newhollandbrew.com/beer/seasonals/golden-cap-saison-ale/
New Holland Envious: This was one of my final brew samples of the evening, so I don't remember much about it except that I liked it a lot!  Oak aging provides complexity.  I think. http://newhollandbrew.com/beer/cellar-series/envious/

Craziest beer of the night:
Avery Dihos Dactylian barrel-aged sour. Tart and oaky. Spectacular!
That was the Twitter-on-the-spot review from the event itself, but looking back, I still think about this beer with drool on my lips.  5 different saison yeasts plus some wild brett, aged in cabernet barrels... This brew is simply exciting!  Avery's description: http://www.averybrewing.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=75

My overall selection for Brewery of the Night was Cigar City Brewing.  Their offerings were intriguing and drinkable and completely different from each other.
Cigar City Humidor IPA: Dry and hoppy, this IPA is one of the rotating brews that lounge about in cigar box cedar to impart those rolled-up-but-not-burning tobacco notes.  They mesh perfectly with the dank hop aromas that seal the deal on this cultured India Pale Ale. http://cigarcitybrewing.com/Cigar_City_Beer/Welcome_to_Cigar_City_Beer_in_Tampa_Florida_Our_Beers_files/page2.pdf
Cigar City Oatmeal  Raisin Cookie:  A brown ale with cinnamon and oatmeal goodness, this brew tastes like cookies for real.  Smooth and rich but not boozy at all.  Only  5.5% abv makes this a session beer with a nifty twist, but it's not a novelty.  Huge dessert beers like those from Southern Tier are cool but typically too much to hang out and drink.  Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is not one of those beers.  It's even more drinkable than Dogfish's Raison D'Etre (and that's not something I throw around, mind you...).  I can't really find this beer on Cigar City's website but I read a cool review on Ales From the Crypt.  Check out the Reaper's (re)animated description: http://www.alesfromthecrypt.net/2011/01/cigar-city-oatmeal-raisin-cookie-brown.html

The Most Celebrated Brew of the night was the collaboration between SAVOR supporters Dogfish Head and Samuel Adams that was brewed especially for the SAVOR event, Savor Flowers.  This brew was made with rose water and an experimental strain of hops.  Not only that, but it was aged in Barrel One, the original barrel used to age Sam Adams Triple Bock back in the early nineties.  So... it's a little special.  Ticket holders at the event were even allowed to take a limited release bottle for enjoyment at home.  I tasted the brew and was stunned by its originality.  Here's my Tweet from the event:
Savor Flowers has a light body.  It's ultra floral and super fragrant, and totally bizarre. Off the hook. Otherworldly. Not my fave ever but mos def ORIGINAL!
Read about Savor Flowers at:  http://www.savorcraftbeer.com/

Thanks again to the Reyes Beverage Group, the Brewers Association, The National Building Museum, the chefs, the brewers, the staff, and all the participants of SAVOR 2011.  Special partner brewers Samuel Adams and Dogfish Head and all the supporting breweries brought their food-friendliest beers and the pairings were a great success.  Sushi, oysters, and artisan cheeses rounded out the event and awakened taste buds all night long.  Tickets were tough to come by, but I'll shout out my contact.  Thanks, brother!  I hope to visit SAVOR next year and cover the event with gusto.  Cheers!

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