SAVOR, the Brewers Association’s annual craft beer and food extravaganza, returns to the National Building Museum for a sixth year of hob-knobbing and hops-gobbling this weekend. Tickets for the fancy affair have long been sold out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join the fun. Once again, bars and restaurants have put together a week’s worth of events celebrating beer, including many from the brewers in town for SAVOR, as well as other breweries from D.C. and around the world.
Out of over 70 events to choose from, here are highlights for each day of the week:
4 Hands Tap Takeover at ChurchKey, 6 p.m. to close
Welcome St. Louis’ 4 Hands Brewing to D.C. by sampling from 10 drafts. Standouts include Madagascar, an Imperial milk stout aged in bourbon barrels with whole vanilla beans, and Super Flare, an IPA with mango, guava, and Brettanomyces (wild yeast) brewed in collaboration with Wicked Weed Brewing. As with most tap takeovers, there is no admission fee; beers are pay as you go.
Monday Night Beer Club at Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, 6 to 10 p.m.
This month’s meeting features 12 beers from London’s Weird Beard Brewing, and D.C.’s very own 3 Stars. Among them will be Paradiso: Sun, a rustic farmhouse ale brewed with cedar tips that is part of a series inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. Don’t forget: Entry is granted via the restaurant’s back door only. (Luckily, there’ no secret knock.)
The Craft of Comedy at The Big Hunt, 7 to 11 p.m.
In its third year, this stand-up, drink-up combo will feature local comedians and 10 beers from five breweries: 3 Stars, Atlas Brew Works, Lagunitas, Sam Adams, and Victory. Admission is free, and beers are pay as you go, with each beer ordered offering the chance to win a pair of tickets to SAVOR and other beer-centric raffle prizes.
Old and Rare Beers at Meridian Pint, 5 to 11 p.m.
Beverage director Jace Gonnerman and his crew are digging into the Pint’s temperature-controlled vault to pull out no less than 18 rare and, in most cases, aged kegs. The list is spectacular and includes treats like Weyerbacher XVI, a Braggot-style honey beer brewed in celebration of the Pennsylvania brewery’s sweet sixteen in 2011.
Moonlight Mead & Allagash Night at Brookland Pint, 11 a.m. to close
Taste from 28 Moonlight and Allagash offerings, including Curiosity, a sour mead from Moonlight aged over two years in wild yeast-inoculated Allagash Curieux barrels. (Curieux is Allagash’s Triple aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels, so think of the influence the wood, bourbon, and Belgian beer have on this honey brew.)
Beer Mixology with Boulevard and Ommegang at Bourbon, 6 to 8 p.m.
More interested in cocktails than beer? Join Bourbon’s master mixologists at the Adams Morgan location for a night of cocktails made using Boulevard and Ommegang brews, such as Boulevard’s Hibiscus Gose, Tank 7 or Ginger Lemon Radler, or Ommegang’s Witte. No admission fee.
Eat All the Mussels with Flying Dog at Granville Moore’s, 6 to 10 p.m.
Lovers of Belgian mussels can take advantage of this all-you-can-eat moules special. Several Flying Dog brews will be available, including two new releases. Tickets are $33 and beers are pay as you go.
Locals Only at Brookland Pint, 11 a.m. to close
Brookland Pint will show off the very best from 24 local breweries and cideries from Richmond to Salisbury, Md., and many spots in between. Highlights from the draft list include Millstone Cobbler, a bourbon-barrel aged peach cider, Atlas Pumpernickel Stout, and Mad Fox Oaked Reynards, a black saison aged in Cabernet barrels.
Secret and Sour at Scion and Crios, 4 to 11 p.m.
This third blind beer tasting event co-hosted by DCBeer.com will challenge attendees to match 25 unmarked beers with their descriptions for the chance to win the title of budding beer expert (and some brewery swag). Beers are pay as your go for tasters and full pours. Not a sour-head? Each brewery will have a non-sour offering available for half price.
Porter-House Steak with DC Brau and Jerkface at The Big Hunt, 4 to 11 p.m.
Beer and meat combine in this unusual evening featuring a cask of Penn Quarter Porter made with garlic chili jerky and several Jerkface jerkies made with DC Brau beer. Also on tap will be On the Wings of Armageddon Imperial IPA, The Public pale ale, and Pils. No admission fee.
Whiskey/Sour Barrel Happy Hour with New Belgium at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 6 to 9 p.m.
Try three different New Belgium wood-aged sour beers conditioned in fruit-whiskey barrels from Leopold Bros. Distillery, as well as a cocktail made with New Belgium’s Pear Ginger Beer and Leopold whiskey at this topsy-turvy event. Plenty of other beers, including non-sours, will be featured. No admission fee.
Beer Dinner with Boston Beer’s Jim Koch and Flying Dog’s Jim Caruso at The Hamilton, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Get cozy in the Hamilton’s loft with two craft brewing pioneers: Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) founder Jim Koch and Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso. The meal will include eight plates by chefs Anthony Lombardo and Jeff Eng paired with beers from the two breweries. Tickets are $85.
Lagunitas Night Featuring the Hop Vaporizer at Smoke and Barrel, 5 to 11 p.m.
Taste eight “dank” drafts from Lagunitas, including at least one of their special release 4/20 beers while puffing vaporized hops. (Remember: Hops are a cousin to the marijuana plant.)
Oxbow Tasting Menu at Little Serow, 5 p.m.
For one night only, Oxbow’s Greg Jasgur (formerly of Pizzeria Paradiso) will host a seven-course paired tasting featuring seven rare bottled beers from the Maine brewery. Standouts include Saison dell’Aragosta, a Gose-inspired saison brewed with live Maine lobster and sea salt, and Infinite Darkness, an imperial stout aged in apple brandy barrels. The beer pairing is an additional $55 beyond the regular tasting menu price of $45.
Hardywood Tap Takeover at Meridian Pint, 3 p.m. to close
Try 15 drafts and two casks from one of Richmond’s finest beermongers. The lineup includes the only kegs of Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout (with and without vanilla bean) to come to D.C. Other highlights include Peach Tripel, Berliner Weiss, and The Milkman, a 13.5 percent chocolate milk stout brewed with Florida’s Cigar City Brewing Company.
Late Night Brunch with Ithaca Beer at City Tap House, 10 p.m. to close
Enjoy favorites from chef Brian Cooke’s weekend brunch menu and nearly a dozen tap lines of beers from New York’s Ithaca Beer Company. Standouts include White Gold, a rustic pale wheat ale, and Excelsior, a Belgian-inspired dark farmhouse ale brewed with wildflower honey in celebration of Ithaca’s 16th anniversary.
Stump the Cicerone with Ommegang at City Tap House, 1 to 4 p.m.
Boulevard and Ommegang breweries’ Master Cicerone Neil Witte (think: beer ninja) invites you to challenge his beer knowledge. Attendees will get a free beer and extra prize for every question he can’t answer. Several Ommegang and Boulevard beers will be on tap. There is no admission fee.
Brewers’ Lunch/Dinner at ChurchKey, 12 p.m. to close
There’s no actual food except what you order from the regular menu, but those who miss out on the morning’s brunch downstairs at Birch & Barley can stick to drinking all afternoon (and/or evening) from a list of 40 special drafts and casks. Featured breweries include Allagash, Country Boy, Main Beer Company, Ninkasi, Sierra Nevada, and of course, Bluejacket.
Savor Charm City at The Black Squirrel, 12 p.m. to close
Celebrate Baltimore with John Waters movies, dishes like soft-shell crab sandwiches, and 12 beers from three of Charm City’s best breweries: Union Craft, Oliver Ales, and the Brewer’s Art. Line-up highlights include Brewer’s Art Choptank’d Saison, Oliver’s Bishop’s Indulgent chocolate stout, and Union’s Double Duckpin Imperial IPA.
New Belgium Beer Blending Brunch at Lost & Found, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Experiment with your own beer-mosa creations with expert guidance from New Belgium brewmaster Peter Bouckaert at this casual brunch featuring guest chefs from Broad Branch. There will be plenty of New Belgium beer to sample and a live jazz band. Free admission; beer and food are pay as you go.
2nd Annual Devils Backbone Brews Cruise, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This three-hour afternoon riverboat tour features unlimited pours of Devils Backbone beer, catering by King Street Blues, and live music from Bryan Elijah (oh, and great views of the city). Tickets are $60.
Allagash and Grimm Ales Brunch at Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, 12 to 5 p.m.
Drop in for five beers from each brewery, Maine’s Allagash and Brooklyn’s Grimm Ales, and a paired brunch menu. This is Pizzeria Paradiso’s fifth annual post-SAVOR brunch. Beer highlights include Allagash Mattina Rossa, a raspberry ale aged in red wine barrels with wild yeast and more raspberries, and Grimm Rainbow in Curved Air, a dry-hopped sour peach farmhouse ale.
All ‘Ale the Ladies Happy Hour at The Black Squirrel, 5 to 7 p.m.
Celebrate the women of craft beer with this meet-and-greet happy hour featuring 12 women in the craft beer industry. Among them, brewers like Capitol City’s Kristi Mathews Griner and Devil’s Backbone’s April Anderson, as well as organization leaders such as D.C. Brewers’ Guild director Kathy Rizzo and Pink Books Society Delaware chapter leader Michelle Townsend. Free admission includes light hors d’oeuvres. Beers are pay as you go. (Disclosure: I host this event.)
Photo by Eddie Arrossi courtesy of the Brewers Association