Tag Archives: Sam Adams

Savor, NoVA Summer Brewfest thoughts

Yeah, so that whole ‘I’m going to catch up on writing’ thing? Not so much, I know.

Anyhoo, I wanted to lay down some thoughts on the Savor event now that any and all relevance they might have had is gone and give a brief report on this past weekend’s Summer Brewfest.

Overall, I was very impressed by Savor. The setting was great and the collection of brewers and breweries was outstanding. I’m not sure how I feel about the layout though. The semi-circles of tables that lined the outside of the room caused a lot of traffic jams and made the food impossible to get to at times. Not good for an event that is supposedly about the pairing of craft beer and food. I was at the Friday night session, and I’ve heard some things said about the crowd that night. Yes, there did seem to be an inordinate amount of Hill staffers there as well as beer industry folks (myself included). But I can’t tell you how many customers of mine I ran into, and I think there were a fair amount of true Beer Geeks. The only problems I had with the crowd was:

1. The Hill people seemed to sweep in a poach all the food, and

2. The whole “Dress to Impress” idea kinda got blown up when I saw my first fanny pack of the evening. I sweated it out in my sport coat and Jo said she felt a little silly and overdressed (even though she looked fantastic). Fucking tourists. Sorry, that’s the native DC/Metro in me, but still…

Really, in the end I thought Savor was a success in showing off the creativity of craft brewers. The tickets were pricey, but I think the collection of that many great brewers in one room made it all worth it.  Highlights:

Russan River, especially Supplication. Easily the beer of the show for me.

Avery15 and Maharaja. Great beers, and meeting Adam Avery during the week leading up to Savor was very cool. He couldn’t have been cooler to me.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. Every time I have this beer it stuns me, and not just because of the ABV. I read an interview in Draft this month with Jim Koch from Boston Brewing where he said that Palo is an example of “fearless brewing” and I couldn’t put it any better.

Clipper City Loose Cannon. The only beer they brought and they paired it with three different foods. Ballsy. Worked. This is a beer that I just can’t seem to order enough of for stock and every time I try it I see why.

Flying Dog Kerberos. The new Tripel. These guys seem to get better and better all the time.

-Meeting Garrett Oliver, Charlie Papazian, the guys from Draft, All About Beer, etc. Really, that was friggin’ cool. I’m still relatively new to the beer business, so there’s a lot of folks I haven’t met yet. It was nice to meet some of these guys that I’ve heard and read about.

This past Sunday I went to the NoVA Summer Brewfest. I’ve heard a lot about the Old Dominion Fests, and how this may be the event to replace it. I never made it to the Dominion Fest but I really had a good time at Brewfest. There were some excellent beers out for tasting, the one cover band I heard was awesome (they had a female singer that Jo and I were both really impressed with, and that’s saying something) and plenty of volunteers. I didn’t see one unmanned booth. Admittedly, there weren’t a ton of new beers out, and many brewery reps that folks might have been expecting weren’t there, but to be fair there were about 3 or 4 other fests happening up and down the coast this weekend, so guys were kinda spread out. Devon from Dogfish had a great selection of beers, though, as did Tomfrom Clipper City with the new Oxford Organic Raspberry Wheat as well as the Oxford Organic Amber out of a firkin (which was all kinds of kickass). Worth the drive, worth the ticket price; can’t really ask for more.

And with that, I’m out. I’ll try to catch up some more later. ‘Til then.

Beermonger

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The Beermonger Review: I’m an Arrogant Bastard (and you should be too)

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single sip.

Ok, so they don’t say that, but I do. In fact, I just did. It was about ten years ago ( I won’t say how old I was exactly; I’ll just encourage young people everywhere not to drink illegally). I went to visit my best friend in Tucson. At this time I was but a novice Beer Geek: Aware of better beers but not exclusive. I’ve always managed to find an interest in the finest of all crafts, be it in music, art, writing, or beer. I was already a regular Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams drinker. I’d discovered the joy of Pete’s Wicked Strawberry Blonde. On this initial trip to Arizona (which I thoroughly enjoyed and have made myself a promise to live in for a couple years in this life) I enjoyed many new experiences. Most of those I won’t name here. Among those I will are pints and pool at the Red Garter, a 1/2 sandwich and bread bowl at Bisonwiches and Fat Tire Ale (more on Fat Tire in the near future).

At some point in my trip, my friend, knowing I was into good beer, told me there was something I needed to try. It was a beer from an at the time new brewery called Stone. That beer was Arrogant Bastard Ale. I don’t know what to say about that night except that Arrogant Bastard is the beer that got me into craft beer.

For the uninitiated, Arrogant Bastard is a full-on assault on the senses. It smells of bitterness, is bright angry red in color and tastes like sharp earthy goodness forcing you to wake up and know that the truth is out there. It literally changed my life. From then on, I went looking for the next, the new, the different.

I had an Arrogant Bastard tonight for the hell of it, knowing I was going to write about it. It’s still the same angry red. It’s not an IPA: Rather a strong ale, with an alpha acid hit that leaves you a slight bit cotton-mouthed. It coats the glass with a sporadic, ominous lace. The flavor is that of a different type of hop; earthy, almost smoky. There is enough malt to support the hoppiness, and enough hop to make you reconsider every beer you’ve ever had in your entire life.

I’m a comic book geek, and I read something in a book recently that definitely applies here: I’ve had bigger, I’ve had better (though not many), but you never forget your first. Arrogant Bastard was my first true craft beer experience, and after all these years it seems we just know each other better. Every move, every twist and turn. This is truly a beer for the ages.

Long live the Bastard.

’till next time,

The Beermonger