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Savor 2012

By June 15, 2012Beer Travel, Events
Brian and Maria on the red carpet at Savor.
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Our first visit to Washington DC and SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience was a complete success. We were able to snag a sweet camping spot at Greenbelt Park, only 1.5 miles from the College Park Metro and about a 30 minute train ride into the city. Luckily, the early summer heat decided to give us a break because this park does not have electrical hookups, which means we could leave the dogs in the RV with the windows open and a nice cool breeze coming in, and we could have peace of mind that they won’t overheat while we see the city. Our first night in town we decided to go to the Cigar City, Funky Buddha, tap takeover which also featured their collaboration with Bluejacket and the first tapping of SNACK ATTACK at ChurchKey on Thursday night.

Unfortunately, the place was packed and there seemed to be a mishap delivering the beers, which were pouring fairly warm and full of foam. It took nearly 30 minutes before we were able to elbow our way to the bar and get served, but with perfect timing because our friends, Paul and Kim Kavulak, owners of Nebraska Brewing Company, had just showed up to meet us, so we were able to get them their pints right away! After we were finally able to enjoy a few samples, Paul was nice enough to introduce us to Joey Rednor and Wayne Wambles, from Cigar City. They told us about the brew, which was actually the most expensive batch of beer Cigar City has ever brewed, due to the rare, local ingredients they sourced. SNACK ATTACK is an Imperial Porter movie theater themed beer, playing with all kind of flavors like buttered popcorn, peanuts and chocolate malt balls. The list of ingredients is long, no wonder it was so expensive! This wasn’t really my kind of beer, but I was more than thrilled to be able to meet Joey and Wayne to talk to them about it.

The next day we found ourselves at Pizza Paradiso, both that and ChurchKey were among the top recommendations from our friends on FB and Twitter when I asked them what was good in DC. They didn’t steer us wrong either! We enjoyed a couple very good beers and their massive elephant garlic with their homemade bread before we set out to see more of the city. Between all the good beer to be had and all the massive museums to see, this city can keep you busy for months! We definitely didn’t get around to as much as I had hoped, but we needed to be sure to rest up for what was to be one of the best beer festival we’ve ever been to.

Now, I may be biased, but as much as I love craft beer, I love food even more, afterall, I am Italian. I’ve always said there are two things I never have a problem spending money on, good food and nice shoes. So this beer festival was perfect for me. Little did I know when we got the tickets, the beer festival is very pricey at $120/ticket, that it would be totally worth it. We had decided to go to Savor at the beginning of the year, because we were going to miss being in San Diego for CBC and we don’t have plans to make it back to Denver this year for GABF either. As last week drew closer and an unexpected repair to Stanley’s generator was needed, I questioned whether or not we should still go, or if we should just sell off our tickets to get back the $240 we shelled out earlier in the year. As most things on our trip have tended to pan out, so too did this decision. I can’t say we will be back every year for Savor, but if there was one festival you should put on your craft beer bucket list, this is definitely one of them.

Pre-Savor shot with Stanley, the greatest RV ever! Just because we don't have a home, doesn't mean we are homeless. We can still do it up!

As I was doing research about Savor I quickly noticed one big difference from that of other festivals (besides the amazing food menu) everyone was really dressed up! Sure enough, I found on the website where they recommend you wear business casual, so Brian was less than amused when I told him he had to break out the nice clothes! I had to persuade him that jeans and polo wouldn’t cut it, but tried to help ease his mind saying he didn’t have to wear a tie. After getting in line and standing there less than a few minutes we see a group of friends walk by and the girl saying to her guy, “see he’s wearing jeans!”. I had to laugh because I could only imagine the same conversation I had with Brian was being had by many couples attending the event. In the end, he looked handsome as ever, so I am glad he decided to get a little dressed up.

Such a beautiful place to hold this event. The National Building Museum.

I fondly remember saying to Brian right as we walked in: “We need to take a lot of pictures tonight”. Which is always a great idea before the festival, but once the drinks start pouring and the lines start forming, you quickly loose yourself in the moment and pictures become an afterthought. Afterall, your hands are full with good food and beer, who has time to take a break from that?! Nonetheless, we did manage to snap a few pics, and even a few of them turned out to not be blurry. So from here I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. If you ever get a chance to go to Savor, I highly recommend it. Great food and excellent beer, poured by the brewers and owners themselves, it couldn’t get any better.

I had to take this picture for my friend Tyson, head brewer at Nebraska Brewing Co. This is one of his all-time favorite beers. Turns out it paired so nice with one of my favorite foods from the night, the salmon pops.

One of the most unique food items of the night: Citrus cured salmon, grapefruit and pistachio cream cheese pop.

Kentucky hot brown, roasted turkey, brioche, bacon, gruyere paired with Port City Brewing Co Porter. Chef notes: "The complex malt character zeros in on the bacon and brings out a touch of smokiness.

Highlight of my night at Savor: Being introduced to Charlie Papazian and getting to talk about how amazing craft beer travel has been.

The most perfect pairing of the night: Coronado Brewing Co Barrel Aged Barley Wine paired with Smoked Blue Cheese. Individually I do not like barleywine or the smoked blue cheese on its own, but paired together to two flavors play off each other so nice!!

Another Savor Highlight: Getting to watch Dave, founder of Ska Brewing, pour Eric, founder of Left Hand Brewing, his "Gold Medal award-winning Milk Stout" Steeltoe

Another favorite of the night was the asparagus mushroom tart with fontina cheese which I particularly liked paired with the Odell Brewing Co Pond Hopper Double Extra Pale Ale

One of my favorite new beers I tried from the night: Laurelwood Thai Wit. I love Laurelwood Brewery, can't wait to get back to Portland.

It was a very nice surprise seeing my hero Steve Bradt, Brewmaster from Free State Brewing Co. in attendance with Eric Wallace co-founder of Left Hand Brewing. He was nice enough to make introductions and we hung out to try a few beers together. The problem with asking someone else to take a picture at a beer fest is evident above. Alchohol + steady hand ≠ a good photo.

Mmm. Duck confit tacos paired with Cigar City Tocobaga

The birthday boy of the night! Cheers to turning 30 Brian!

Another Savor highlight of the night: Getting to meet Shaun O'Sullivan, 21st Amendment Brewmaster. I had fun talking about our craft beer travels with Shaun and we REALLY love their beer. Tried the Bitter American for the first time and loved it. Have always been a big fan of the Back in Black. Probably my favorite part about 21st Amendment? Their cans/branding. It rocks. Thanks for chatting it up with me Shaun!

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