Preview: Savor Week 2016
Philip Runco | May 27, 2016 | 9:00AM |

By Philip Runco.

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Rejoice: SAVOR, perhaps the nation’s premier beer event, arrives next week.

The DC festival draws about 80 breweries under the roof of the National Building Museum on Friday and Saturday night. Each brewery will be pouring two beers, and since SAVOR is a BFD, they’re bringing their best stuff. DC Beer has done an incredible job breaking down all of this year’s participating breweries and the beers they’ll be pouring, so if you’re going – or on the fence – I would encourage you to visit their preview. BYT covered the event a few years back, too, so revisit that post for the sense of the experience and its sheer scope.

But even if you’re not going to SAVOR, there is so much to enjoy next week. Every night, there are a mind-spinning number of events across town – the majority of which are free to attend. (The beer, sadly, is not free, though.)

>>>>>>>>>>>> Here is a Featured Event >>>>>>>>>>>>
Thursday 03/30
Carlos Mencia from Mind of Mencia @ Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse
$30 / $30
Carlos Mencia is undoubtedly one of today’s most popular entertainers and comics. Whether it is man-on-the-street interviews, studio comedy, commercial parodies, nationwide sold-out tours, or films, Mencia demonstrates an extraordinary ability to connect with a wide and diverse audience. Mencia comes from a humble background, born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the 17th of 18 children. His parents sent him to the United States when he was about three months old, where he was raised in Maravilla Projects in Los Angeles, California by his aunt and uncle. In his early teens, Mencia moved back to Honduras because his family wanted him to avoid the destructive gang culture of East Los Angeles. When Mencia later returned to Los Angeles, he showed such educational prowess that he was immediately promoted to the tenth grade. Soon after, he successfully graduated from Garfield High School. Mencia began his career doing stand-up on amateur night. After he found success on the L.A comedy circuit, Mencia was named “International Comedy Grand Champion” from Buscando Estrellas (the Latino version of Star Search). This led to appearances on “In Living Color,” “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “Moesha” and “An Evening at the Improv.” In 1994, he hosted the HBO comedy series “Loco Slam” and in 1998 he hosted “Funny is Funny!” on Galavision. Mencia released a comedy album in 2000 called “Take a Joke, America” that showcased his brand of humor. Mencia continued his journey up the comedy ladder by headlining “The Three Amigos” tour with Freddy Soto and Pablo Francisco in 2002, which sold out in record time around the United States. He was also featured in the independent films, “Outta Time” and “29 Palms” and starred in guest spots on “The Shield” and “The Bernie Mac Show,” among others. In 2002, he received a CableACE Award nomination for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special for his HBO special. That same year, Mencia was featured on “Comedy Central Presents.” Mencia remained busy and after the success of his solo dvd, “Carlos Mencia: Not For The Easily Offended,” “Mind of Mencia” went into development. The show was an instant hit and after the first season, Comedy Central signed Mencia back for his own original stand-up special, “Carlos Mencia: No Strings Attached.” The special was the first Comedy Central Stand-up Special DVD to achieve Platinum sales status. “Mind of Mencia” debuted on Comedy Central in early 2005. It became one of the strongest shows in the network’s history, averaging about 1.5 million total viewers. “Mind of Mencia” was executive produced by Carlos Mencia and Robert Morton (“Late Night with David Letterman”). In the summer of 2007, Mencia starred opposite Ben Stiller and Michelle Monaghan in the Farrelly Brothers’ hit feature film, THE HEARTBREAK KID (DreamWorks). In the fall of that year Mencia headlined a nationwide comedy tour titled “Carlos Mencia Live Presented by Bud Light.” The highly anticipated tour brought Mencia face-to-face with his fans from September 2007 through December 2007. Shortly thereafter, Mencia taped a new comedy special for Comedy Central, “Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced,” that aired in May 2008. Since 2007, every holiday season Mencia has embarked on a USO Tour to the Persian Gulf to entertain the troops serving overseas. For his 2008 trip, Mencia visited Kuwait to host “Operation MySpace,” an exclusive concert for American Troops in the Middle East alongside Jessica Simpson and The Pussycat Dolls. The special aired on FX in April 2008. Mencia’s 2009 USO tour had stops in Turkey, Kirkuk, Baghdad, Qatar, Afghanistan, and many other countries. In July 2008, Mencia began his tour, “At Close Range” at Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado. The tour was sponsored by Bud Light and co-promoted by Icon Entertainment and Live Nation. Larger than all of his previous tours, Mencia performed in 80 cities across the country. In the summer of 2009, he kicked off a nationwide comedy tour entitled “The Administration of Laughter” which brought him to excited audiences all around the country. In March 2010, Mencia starred in the family comedy OUR FAMILY WEDDING (FOX Searchlight) alongside America Ferrara and Forrest Whitaker. In the last couple years, Mencia chose to go back to his comedic roots, performing at a number of comedy stores throughout the country – allowing him to share his newest material with smaller and more intimate audiences.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Ok, back to the article! >>>>>>>>>>>>

Many of the breweries at SAVOR don’t distribute in DC, so this is their chance to show the city what they’ve been brewing up (and to scope out the city’s beer scene for possible expansion in the future). And it’s your chance to see what’s the big deal with Louisiana’s Parish Brewing or Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing or Minnesota’s Surly Brewing. And them there are the breweries you’ve never even heard of. Plus, with so many industry folks in town, a lot of the local guys time the release of their special brews, collaborations, and cellared rarities get them in front of such a discerning audience.

The list below is a work in progress. We’ll be updating it through the week, so check back for more events.

Cheers.

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MONDAY

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4th Annual SAVOR Pig Roast

Where: Smoke & Barrel

Who: Boulevard Brewing, Firestone Walker, Brewery Ommegang, and Victory Brewing.

When: Noon ’til close.

What: Is this the unofficial official SAVOR kick off? If they’re not saying it, I will.

“This is the fourth year in a row where we’ve smoked a whole pig,” Smoke & Barrel beer director Jace Gonnerman says. “We went with Boulevard and Ommegang, who have been there since the beginning, and we decided to round out the American contingents of the Ommegang-Duvel partnership with Firestone Walker. And we have a relationship with Victory’s rep.”

The four breweries will be pouring some beers their eager to showase and some rarer finds.

“Ommegang has a new year-round double IPA – nice and hazy with Mosaic, Centennial and Calypso hops,” Gonnerman says. “We’ll be pouring the new year-round version of what was originally a Cigar City collab, the Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale, which is a pale ale with big hops, passion fruit, and grapefruit. And then we’ll have Firestone’s Bretta Weiss – their foudre-aged Berliner Weisse – as well as Parabola and 2015 Saison Brett. It’ll be a great beer list to with a bunch of really great smoked pig,

Skim down to our Meridian Pint spotlight to read more about how Gonnerman orchestrates SAVOR events across three restaurants.

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Smutt-Putt

Where: Bier Baron

Who: Smuttynose Brewing

When: 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

What: Bier Baron is hosting a regular beer Olympics on Monday: Two holes of putt-putt golf, a coaster toss challenge, and a darts challenge! Prizes from Smuttynose will be awarded to first and second place. Of course, beer from the New Hampshire brewery will be flowing, as well.

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The Craft of Comedy: SAVOR 2016 Edition

Where: Big Hunt

Who: DC Brau, Right Proper Brewing, Lagunitas, and Victory Brewing.

When: 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

What: As you may know, Big Hunt puts on an Underground Comedy show four nights a week. For this special SAVOR edition, the four breweries above will each have two drafts on tap (one flagship, one seasonal), and a raffle ticket will be given any time one of those featured beers is ordered. After the show, ticket holders will have the chance to win shirts, brewery tours, or other swag, as well as the grand prize: a pair of SAVOR tickets. Retail value: a lot. (Actually, $135.)

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TUESDAY

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VaStLy Mild Debut Party

Where: Rustico (Alexandria)

Who: Port City Brewing & Schlafly Beer

When: 5:00 p.m ’til close.

What: Alexandria’s Port City and St. Louis’ Schlafly debut their new collaboration, VaStLy Mild at Rustico on Tuesday. Fast-forward to the spotlight section below for the background and details of the beer.

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Out-of-Market VA Breweries and Brewpubs

Where: Meridian Pint

Who: Aslin Beer, Triple Crossing Brewing, Redbeard Brewing, Ocelot Brewing, and The Answer Brewpub

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: Meridian Pint is pulling together five Virginia breweries who fall into one of three buckets: 1) They’ve never been poured in DC; 2) They’ve only been poured in DC at Meridian Pint; or 3) They’re pretty hard to find anywhere but Meridian Pint. This is not something to miss. Scroll down to our Meridian Pint spotlight for full details and the backstory of the event.

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DoCo District Release Party

Where: Brookland Pint

Who: 3 Stars Brewing and RAR Brewing

When: 11:00 a.m. til close.

What: 3 Stars and RAR are celebrating the release of their collaboration IPA, DoCo District. (Skip down to our spotlight on 3 Stars’ collaborations to read all about the beer and more.)  In addition, the two breweries will each be bringing five of its beers to put on tap, including 3 Stars’ Brandy-Lyn (a blend of bourbon barrel-aged cider and brandy barrel-aged beer), RAR’s House Roast (a new Imperial Coffee Cream Ale), 3 Stars’ Starsky and Dutch (an 8.3% Imperial Chocolate Stout), and RaR’s Maryln (a brewery-only, 5% blond ale “hopped like an IPA with an absurd amount of Australian Galaxy.”)

Extra Credit: Tap Takeover: 3 Stars (Update)

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Against the Grain and 4 Hands Take the Taps

Where: ChurchKey

Who: Against the Grain Brewing and 4 Hands Brewing

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: Louisville’s Against the Grain and St. Louis’ 4 Hands take over 24 draft lines at ChurchKey. Click on that ChurchKey link to scope out each brewery’s dozen offerings.

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Taco Tuesday: Founders Edition

Where: Smoke & Barrel

Who: Founders Brewing

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: Smoke & Barrel says it hoards kegs of Founders for the right opportunity to tap them. There are dumber things to do. On Tuesday, it pairs its weekly taco night with a mix of core, seasonal, specialty, and Backstage Series offerings from the Michigan brewery. Of the thirteen Founders beers on tap, highlights include Backwoods Bastard (11.6% Wee Heavy aged in oak bourbon barrels), Backstage Series: Project Pam (Imperial Black IPA aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels), DC’s only keg of Misty Mountain Hop Brown (8% Brown Ale), and PC Pils (a brewery-only Pilsner brewed with corn and Carapils).

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Easy Come, Easy GOSE!

Where: Roofers Union

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: If you’ve ever had a beer with Roofers Union manager Dave Delaplaine, you know he’s a master of the tart arts. “I can never stockpile enough sour beer,” he told me in March. “I don’t want to have just one sour at the list – I want to have four or five. If someone makes a sour, I’m probably going to buy it, and if I like, I’m going to keep buying it.”

On Tuesday, he’ll flaunt those chops with a night showcasing goses, the slightly sour, slightly salty style of wheat beers originally from Germany. (The lacto-soured beers usually don’t incorporate wild yeast like a barrel-aged sour ale.)  The list of beers can be viewed on the link above.

Unsolicited advice: I’d go for that ginger cask of Union’s Old Pro first.

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Locals Night Out

Where: Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown)

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: The name says it all. Pizzeria Paradis kicks off Savor Week with “locals night,” a celebration of DC-area breweries. Participating breweries include: Right Proper, DC Brau, 3 Stars, Atlas Brew Works, Hellbender Caboose, Denizens, Port City, Fair Wind, Ocelot Impression, Handsome Beer, and Adroit Theory.

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Victory Beer, Surly Brewing and Tacos… ‘Nuff Said

Where: Jack Rose

Who: Victory Brewing and Surly Brewing

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: Victory. Surly. Tacos. Seriously, ’nuff said.

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SPOTLIGHT: VaStLy Mild

Jonathan Reeves sees a theme emerging this year.

Look at the beers the Port City head brewer has produced in 2016: the Zehn Von Zehn Dunkel collaboration with DC Brau, the Colossal V anniversary Old Ale, the double red ale Metro Red, and now, Port City’s collaboration with Schlafly Beer, a Ruby Mild.

“They’re all these dark red, caramelly beers,” he told an audience at the Heurich House recently. “This is kind of my year of reddish brown beers.”

On that particular day, Reeves had just come from brewing the Ruby Mild with Schlafly Ambassador Brewer Stephen Hale. They weren’t sure what the name would be yet but someone with Schlafly had suggested VaStLy Mild, a play on the Virginia and St. Louis breweries home turf. It ended up sticking.

The two brewers’ relationship goes back over a decade, to when Reeves was living in St. Louis while his wife attended graduate school. Back then, he was only brewing part time, but he met Hale in the St. Louis beer scene. A friendship developed. Hale would attend Reeves’ wedding later down the road.

The two reconnected after Port City founder Bill Butcher invited Schlafly co-founder Dan Kopman and his team to visit the Alexandria facility. “Steve came to the brewery, and we immediately recognized each other,” Reeves recalls. “So, we had this connection. It was serendipitous, so to speak.”

“We missed each other,” Hale jokes. “It was time to brew again.”

The beer the two brewed, VaStLy Mild, is a style that reaches back to 1700s in England, although according to Jeff Alworth’s The Beer Bible, the term “mild” initially just indicated that a beer was young and fresh. (It didn’t have anything to do with the beer’s strength.) Over time, the term came to be associated with a version that was “chestnut brown, about 3% ABV, and not especially hoppy.”

“It’s a traditional beer,” explains Reeves, who judged the style at the Great American Beer Festival last year. “It’s a beer that’s almost extinct in England now. It’s a low alcohol beer like a bitter – lower than the cheap beer you guys drank in college – but it has more malt flavor.”

The Port City head brewer likens the beer to a low-gravity brown ale. That’s not exactly the type of stereotypically flashy, off-the-wall beer style that chums the water of online beer forums. And that’s the point.

“I think the flashier beer has become the lower alcohol beer, the balanced beer, the beer style that somebody hasn’t had in a while. It’s not the extreme, barrel-aged, triple something,” Hale explains. “I like to think that what’s more unusual has become the more sought after. That’s one of the reasons that we chose the Ruby Mild.”

The two breweries will make the beer again this August – this time at Schlafly’s brewery in St. Louis.

“It’s a lot of fun to see what the different result is,” Hale says of the brewery swap. “We hope it’s exactly the same, but we expect it to be slightly different.”

VaStLy Mild will be poured at Alexandria’s Rustico on Tuesday and Dupont’s Scion on Thursday. After that, keep an eye out for the beer around town.

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WEDNESDAY

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SAVOR Blowout

Where: Meridian Pint

Who: Parish Brewing, Wicked Weed Brewing, and Melvin Brewing

When: 5:00 p.m. til’ close.

What: North Carolina’s Wicked Weed. Louisiana’s Parish Brewing. Wyomings’ Melvin Brewing. The common thread? Well, there isn’t really one.

“I don’t have theme except for: These are three breweries that we can’t get here, they’re all sending up an incredible selection of beers, come drink and enjoy it,” say Merdian Pint beer director Jace Gonnerman. “They just all make outstanding beer.”

Skim down to our Meridian Pint spotlight to read more about this event and how Gonnerman orchestrates SAVOR events across three restaurants.

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Wood You Be My SAVOR: A Tap Takeover of Foeder- & Wood-Aged Libations

Where: Jack Rose

Who: 4 Hands Brewing, Allagash Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Right Proper Brewing, and 3 Stars Brewing.

When: 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.

What: Jack Rose will be showcasing beers aged in foeders, wine, whiskey and even Caribbean rum barrels. According to a press release, the Jack Rose event will “celebrate the funky flavors achieved by introducing beer to various wooden vessels.”

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The Shorts Brewing & Surly Brewing Tap Takeover

Where: ChurchKey

Who: Shorts Brewing and Surly Brewing

When: 4:00 p.m. til close.

What: 50 taps of Shorts and Surly. That is insane.

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St. Louis Beer & Food Pairing Lab

Where: Eat Bar

Who: Perennial Artisan Ales, Schlafly Beer and Urban Chestnut

When: 4:00 p.m. til close.

What: As you may have heard, the new Eat Bar is great. It will also have a ton of St. Louis beer on tap this week. And from Wednesday through Saturday, the restaurant will pair “three featured dishes from Eat Bar’s menu with three distinctive beers from each of the featured breweries, with each beer highlighting completely different flavor interactions with the dish.” On tap will be a handful of exclusives, include Perennial’s Stowaway (a tart, blonde farmhouse ale fermented with Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus), and Urban Chestnut’s Stammtisch, Urbanator, and SLIPILS.

Note: Runs through Saturday.

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Uppers & Downers – Volume 2

Where: Brookland Pint

When: 11:00 p.m. til close.

What: In April of 2015, Brokland Pint debuted Volume 1 of Uppers and Downers, an event featuring 15 beers brewed with coffee. Since then, it’s been stashing beers to do another event in the same vein. Volume two will showcase beers with coffee, vanilla, apricot, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean, brewer’s licorice, and more.

The offerings will include: 4 Hands Madagascar (9.3% Imperial Milk Stout brewed with vanilla beans and aged in oak bourbon barrels), Hardywood Bourbon GBS (10.6% Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla beans, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and honey and then aged in Virginia bourbon barrels), Founders KBS (12.1% Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate and cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels), and Avery Tweak (18% Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and aged four months in oak bourbon barrels).

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The Ultimate Hump Day Celebration

Where: Rustico (Alexandria)

When: 5:00 p.m. til close.

What: A SAVOR edition of Rustico’s Hump Day special with extra #rare beers. Check the list here.

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Ballast Point Fruit Fest

Where: Pizza Paradiso (Dupont Circle)

Who: Ballast Point Brewing

When: 11:00 a.m. til close.

What: San Diego’s Ballast Point loves putting fruit in its IPAs. You can taste for yourself Wednesday at Dupont’s Pizza Paradiso, where they’ll be pouring a selection of brews that includes Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, Pineapple Sculpin IPA, Watermelon Dorado Double IPA, Mango Even Keel Session IPA, Ginger Big Eye IPA.

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Best of Pennsylvania Beer

Where: City Tap House

Who: Victory Brewing, Troeg’s Brewing, Fat Head’s Brewery, Selin’s Grove Brewing, Earth, Bread & Brewery, Forest & Main Brewing Company, and Iron Hill Brewery

When: 11:00 a.m. til close.

What: Eight Pennsylvania breweries and, of course, cheesesteak.

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Official Man O’ War Release + Draft Feature

Where: BlueJacket

Who: BlueJacket and Country Boy Brewing

When: 5:00 p.m. til close.

What: DC’s BlueJacket and Kentucky’s Country Boy have collaborated on a beer called Man O’ War. It’s a 10.5% sour brown ale aged for six months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels and finished with blackberry preserves. I had it at ChurchKey about a month ago, but that must have been some kind of soft opening because the collaboration gets its official release on Wednesday. (Spoiler: It’s delicious.) In addition to Man O’ War, Bluejacket will be featuring some rarities from its vault alongside some of Country Boy’s brews. Check the link for the full list.

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SAVOR Spotlight: Country Boy

Where: Big Hunt

Who: Country Boy Brewing

When: 4:00 p.m. til close.

What:Country Boy, you two-timing rascal! Here’s another Wednesday event from the Kentucky brewery. Remarkably, though, there are only two repeats from what BlueJacket will be pouring. Here’s the list: Cliff Jumper IPA, Ghost Gose, Alpha Experiment IPA Mosaic (a single hop Mosaic version of Alpha Experiment IPA), 4th Anniversary Wild Red Ale (aged in whiskey barrels), Barreled Jalapeno Smoked Porter (aged in bourbon barrels), Mexican Chocolate Stout (rum barrel-aged stout brewed with coffee, cocoa, ancho, and cinnamon), Namakemono Rye Strong Ale (a rye barrel-aged collab with Japan’s Baird Brewing).

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SPOTLIGHT: 3 Stars Collaborations

No brewery in DC area has a better sense of showmanship than 3 Stars.

It’s hardly a surprise then that the DC brewery will debut not one but two collaborations during SAVOR week.

The first is DoCo District, an IPA brewed with Maryland’s RAR Brewing.

“It’s just a big, hoppy IPA that we did with RaR in Cambridge,” 3 Stars co-founder Dave Coleman says. “We were up on the shore with them, and they wanted to use some Summer hops, and we were like, ‘You know what? Let’s just make a monster IPA that we can crush all summer long.'”

DoCo District – a nod to RAR’s home in Dorchester County, and 3 Stars’ in DC – is also brewed with El Dorado hops, and it’s built on a base of mostly Pilsen Malt (plus a dash of Golden Promise).

3 Stars’ relationship with RAR stems from a history with its head brewer, Randy Mills. Mills formerly brewed at Salisbury, Maryland’s Evolution Brewing, where almost five years ago, Coleman and 3 Stars head brewer Mike McGarvey brewed their first professional beer, the Syndicate Saison.

“We developed a relationship with Randy then, and we’ve just kind of maintained and grown it over the years,” Coleman shares. “When he went over to RAR, it was basically an instant connection between RAR and us.”

DoCo District is one of two forthcoming collaborations between 3 Stars and RAR. An IPA fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces is on the way, too – eventually.

“As funny as it is, we’re actually doing samples of it right now,” Coleman shared with me on Wednesday. “We just pulled samples out of the barrels, and we’re getting ready to set up a sensory tasting with the brew team. We will see where it is.”

While the Brett IPA continues to ferment in 3 Stars’ Funkerdome, a different funky creation is ready for the spotlight: Ricky Rosé.

A collaboration with Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing, Ricky Rosé will be premiering at Jack Rose on Wednesday. The barrel-fermented sour ale will be the first sour bottled by 3 Stars. (The brewery had to acquire a separate bottling line especially for sours.)

“We took wort directly from the kettle and put it into white wine barrels,” Coleman says of the brewing process. “Then we added Lacto and Brett, and we let them ferment and sour in the barrels. Once we reached terminal [gravity], we added blackberries to it, and then let that ferment again.”

The resulting beer is indeed the shade of rosé.

“It’s a really pink / fuschia color” the co-founder continues. “It’s super tart and really bright with a great sour finish. I’m over the moon about this beer.”

In case you don’t listen to much hip-hop, the beer plays on the nickname of Miami rapper and general bawse Rick Ross, who like to refer to himself as Ricky Rozay.

As is often the case with breweries, this name was the genesis for the beer itself.

“The whole project started last year when we were in Boston for the Beer Advocate beer fest,” Coleman recollects. “We were hanging out with the guys from Other Half, and we were throwing around ideas. You know what happens: Guys are hanging out, drinking and busting chops, and sooner or later we came up with the name of the beer Ricky Rosé. And then it was like, ‘OK, if that’s what we’re going to call it, how are we going to make it?’ We knew it was going to have to be sour. We knew were going to have to do it in barrels. We knew we were going to have to add fruit to get it to be a rosé.”

Their designs that night even stretched down to the packaging: 3 Stars will be putting Ricky Rosé into 375-mL bottles with corks and cages. In other words, it’ll look a little like a bottle of bubbly.

“The whole process started on the creative side of things,” Coleman shares. “It was like, ‘This is what we want to do, and this what we want the end product to be, now let’s backwards design it and create our final product.’”

These bottles will likely be making their debut at 3 Stars the Friday after SAVOR Week. If any remains after that weekend, it’ll go out to the market.

As with the RAR collaborations, there’s another joint effort with Other Half on the way, too: A Brett IPA brewed with a grain called millet.

And like the other Other Half collaboration, it has a hip-hop indebted name: Meek Millet.

“It’s Ricky Rosé and Meek Millet,” Coleman says with a hearty laugh.

No word yet on when Meek Millet plans to take the stage, though.

DoCo District will debut at Brookland Pint on Tuesday, and will be available at Union Market’s Red Apron on Saturday. Ricky Rosé debuts at Jack Rose on Wednesday.

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THURSDAY

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SAVOR Spotlight: 3 Stars Brewing Collaborations

Where: Big Hunt

Who: 3 Stars Brewing

When: 3:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: 3 Stars will debut DoCo District IPA (its RAR collaboration) on Tuesday at Meridian Pint, and Ricky Rose (its Other Half collaboration) at Jack Rose’s barrel-aged beer event on Wednesday, but if you feel like killing two birds with one stone, Big Hunt will have both on tap Thursday. (Read about the two brews in the spotlight above.) Of course, Big Hunt will have other beers from 3 Stars, including Starsky and Dutch, Citra Lemon Saison, and a cask of the Ghost White IPA.

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Southern Craft Brewers

Where: ChurchKey

Who: Burial Beer, Country Boy Brewing, Great Raft Brewing, Parish Brewing, Wicked Weed Brewing, and Fonta Flora.

When: 3:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: 37 beers from six of the South’s best breweries. This one is a no-brainer.

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Day of the Dead Pigs

Where: Smoke & Barrel

Who: Surly Brewing and Flying Dog Brewery

When: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

What: Flying Dog, Surly, and Smoke & Barrel celebrate a mutual love of beer and pork. Check the link above for everything the two breweries are sending.

Extra Credit: Tap Takeover: Flying Dog

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Stone, Smoke & SAVOR

Where: Jack Rose

Who: Stone Brewing

When: 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.

What: A beer and cigar pairing. Whoa.

Stone, Smoke & Savor is the product of collaboration between Jack Rose and San Diego’s Stone Brewing. For the event, Stone Beer Ambassador Bill Sysak has paired four flights of Stone beers with a different cigar from W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist. Stone co-founder Steve Wagner will be on-site to chat with guests throughout the evening, too.

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VaStLy Mild DC Debut Party

Where: Scion

Who: Port City Brewing & Schlafly Beer

When: 5:00 ’til close.

What: The DC debut of VaStLy Mild. Again, check out our spotlight of the beer above.

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Allagash Full Tap Takeover

Where: City Tap House

Who: Allagash Brewing

When: 11:30 ’til close.

What: City Tap House went full tap takeover. Never go full tap takeover.

 

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New Belgium 25th Anniversary: Fat Tire & Friends

Where: Meridian Pint

Who: New Belgium Brewing, Allagash Brewing, Avery Brewing, Firestone Walker, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Rhinegeist Brewery

When: 4:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: For its 25th anniversary, New Belgium partnered with five breweries to create five reinterpretations of its flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale. As you can see from the list of breweries above, the Colorado enterprise was not messing around.

The beers they came up with are sort of ridiculous, so let’s list them out: Allagash Fat Funk Ale (Fat Tire with Belgian yeast sourced from the Poperinge region and Brettanomyces), Avery Fat Wild Ale (Fat Tire with a fruitier hop bill and a dose of Brettanomyces), Firestone Walker Fat Hoppy Ale (a West Coast interpretation of Fat Tire with an assertive hop profile and a light lager yeast), Hopworks Urban Brewery Fat Sour Apple Ale (Fat Tire with apple and lactobacillus to highlight the green apple snap in Fat Tire), and Rhinegeist Fat Pale Ale (Fat Tire transformed into a Belgian Extra Pale Ale with a fruity Belgian yeast strain and bready European and Colorado malts).

Last weekend, I was at a North Carolina music festival where New Belgium was an official sponsor and suffice to say none of these beers were being poured.

In fact, Thursday’s event marks the first time these collaborations will be available in D.C., too. In addition to those five, all of the breweries involved will be bringing a treasure trove of offerings. Check the list here.

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Fun with Foeders

Where: Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown)

When: 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Who: Right Proper Brewing, Perennial Artisan Ales, Allagash Brewing, and New Belgium Brewing

What: Georgetown’s Pizza Paradiso hosts a boozy workshop that explores the world of foedre-aged beers. (Foedres are basically oversized wooden barrels used to let sour and wild ales get funky.) The ticketed event includes 12-3oz pours of beer and antipasti to refresh the palate. Guest speakers will include Right Proper head brewer Nathan Zener and someone from Perennial, as well as Josh Fernands, Paradiso’s Beverage Director.

Note: This is a ticketed event.

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The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, & The Hop Concept Takeover

Where: The Sovereign

Who: The Lost Abbey

When: 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

What: The Sovereign welcomes Lost Abbey co-founder and director of Brewery Operations, Tomme Arthur. (Arthur opened The Lost Abbey in 2006.) The event will feature 20 hand-picked beers.

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Sour / Wild Night: Our SOUR Power Hour

Where: Roofers Union

When: 5:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: I remember Roofers Union manager Dave Delaplaine once telling me that when he pours patrons their first sour beer, he asks for three sips. The first taste will probably come as a shock to their palates. By the second, they’ve adjusted a little. And by the third, they’re tasting the full spectrum of flavor. At that point, whether a person likes the beer or not, he or she has given it a fair shake.

Point being: Delaplaine is on a mission to change his patrons’ tastes and to make sour, tart, and wild beers accessible to everyone. That task continues on Thursday with a night spotlighting such beverages. They’ll be pouring some great beers, including Blodgengüch, a soured Vienna Lager (!) from Union and Devils Backbone. And as far that “power hour” goes: Every hour Roofers Union will give out a sampling from a different sour beer.

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Hit the CAN with Diarrhea Planet

Where: Black Cat

Who: Oskar Blues

What: Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet is a whole lot of fun. They’re playing the Black Cat in partnership with Oskar Blues.

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Hardywood Rarities & Vintages

Where: Brookland Pint

Who: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

When: 11:00 a.m. ’til close.

What: As you might be able to guess, Brookland Pint is hosting a Hardywood tap takeover. The restaurant will be pouring over 20 beers from Richmond brewery, including some barrel-aged monsters (2015 and 2016 Bourbon Sidamo, Bourbon Gingerbread Stout, and 2014 and 2016 Bourbon Barleywine) and a number of rarities (Pineapple Great Return IPA, Spirit Braid Saison, Berliner Weisse, and Little Flowers.) Check the full list here.

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SPOTLIGHT: Meridian Pint

For Jace Gonnerman, SAVOR Week is when six months of planning comes to fruition.

The beer director for Meridian Pint, Smoke & Barrel, and Brookland Pint has been orchestrating events across his three restaurants from literally the earliest chance he could.

“I started planning these events the moment the list of SAVOR breweries came out six or seven months ago,” Gonnerman shares. “The day the list was released, there were eight to ten breweries that I honed in on and shot e-mails to immediately.”

For DC’s beer bars, SAVOR Week is competitive business. It’s a week of exclusives and premieres and snags of rare beer. It’s a chance to attract beer geeks far and wide, and to woo visiting industry folks, too.

Often, where a brewery chooses to send its beer comes down to individual relationships more than any hard calculus. Taking a look at some of Gonnerman’s biggest events bears this out.

On Tuesday, Meridian Pint will host five Virginia breweries that either don’t distribute in DC or are particularly hard to find. In that latter category is Ocelot, a Dulles brewery that can’t make its beer fast enough these days. (Just this week, the Washington Post called it the area’s best new brewery.)

While you don’t see their beers around town that often as a result of such demand, Meridian Pint in the exception to the rule. You can rely on an Ocelot beer typically being on tap in the Columbia Heights bar.

How doe Gonnerman pull it off?

“A large chunk of that I would attribute to Meridian Pint’s reputation with local breweries,” he explains. “It’s long been known that if you’re a local brewery that’s making really good beer, we want to carry you first and foremost.”

But it’s also a product of how quick Meridian Pint was to support the brewery.

“We were either the first or second place that Ocelot came to when they started to sell beer,” Gonnerman says. “I tasted the beer and immediately said, ‘Yeah, this is something that we want to be a part of.’ From then, we’ve been super loyal, and we’ve been fortunate that as Ocelot has been able to get big and sought-after and can’t keep up with demand, they’ve been loyal to us.”

If there’s another brewery whose beer is as coveted as Ocelot’s, it’s Aslin’s. (The Washington Post dubbed it “The Best Brewery You Probably Haven’t Heard Of” in that same article.) And on Tuesday, the Herndon brewery will make it’s DC debut at Meridian Pint’s Virginia event.

“Right now, Aslin is as hot as hot can be,” Gonnerman observes. “They’ve got six beers in the Beer Advocate Top New 150. We’re thrilled to establish a relationship with those guys.”

Aslin has made a name with beers like Master Karate, a juicy New England-style IPA, but don’t underestimate the rest of their offerings.

“It’s easy to look at Aslin and make the false assumption that they’re a little bit of a one-trick pony – they they’re only making these hazy, supper-hopped IPAs,” Gonnerman says. “It’s easy to pigeonhole them, but when you actually start to look at them a little closer, they’re doing really great imperial stouts with all natural ingredients, and they just did a Berliner Weiss with mango and raspberry that was phenomenal – nice and tart and really juicy. They’re really talented brewers.”

In landing Aslin’s DC debut, it also didn’t hurt to have Ocelot founder Adrien Widman helping Gonnerman organize the event. Widman’s relationship with the Answer – and its head brewer Brandon Tolbert – helped facilitate Richmond brewpub’s involvement with the event, too. And together, Tolbert and Widman encouraged Gonnerman to reach out to Richmond brewery Triple Crossing.

“Brandon and Adrien were both immediately like, ‘If you need another brewery for this, you need to reach out to Triple Crossing,’” he recalls. “I didn’t really have a relationship with them, but any time two people like that suggest reaching out, you do it. “

A brewery Gonnerman did already have a relationship with was Redbeard, a small Staunton operation that the beer director stumbled across online a little over a year ago.

“I was putting together a Pappy Van Winkle beer and whiskey dinner at Smoke & Barrel, and I could not find enough Pappy barrel-aged beers to save my life,” he recalls. “I was looking around on Beer Advocate one day, and there was this brewery called Redbeard in one of the local forums advertising its Pappy barrel-aged stout. I look up some reviews, and they’re overwhelmingly positive. So I sent this guy a message and explained who I am and what we’re doing, and he’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I was born in DC. I would love to come up for the night and bring one of my sixtels of Pappy barrel-aged Moriarti.’ It was this 10% imperial stout fermented with English yeast, and it was phenomenal. But he brought several of his other beers with him as well, and they were also phenomenal.”

Due Redbeard’s size, though, Meridian Pint can only land BREWER’S beers once or twice a year. “It’s very much the definition of a nano-brewery,” Gonnerman says. “But we have a great relationship with Jonathan [Wright], the brewer there, and we love to pour his beer whenever we can get it.”

For a special occasion like SAVOR Week – and months and months to plan for it – Redbeard and Meridian Pint make it work. Serving it alongside Ocelot and Aslin and The Answer and Triple Crossing is almost an embarrassment of riches.

The same can said for Meridian Pint’s Wednesday night event featuring North Carolina’s Wicked Weed, Louisiana’s Parish Brewing, and Wyomings’ Melvin Brewing. The common thread? Well, there isn’t really one.

“I don’t have theme except for: These are three breweries that we can’t get here, they’re all sending up an incredible selection of beers, come drink and enjoy it,” Gonnerman says with a laugh. “They just all make outstanding beer.”

In contrast in with previous night’s Virginia event, this one – dubbed simply, SAVOR Blowout – wasn’t built on existing relationships. It just took some good old cold calling once the SAVOR list went public.

“Parish was one that I immediately honed in on,” Gonnerman says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to try their Double IPA, Ghost in the Machine, and it’s incredible. I did a little more research, and I was like, ‘Yes, this is definitely a brewery that want to try to highlight during Savor week. Thankfully, head brewer Andrew Godley was super receptive to it.”

The other breweries, Gonnerman shares, just “fell into place.”

“Melvin is probably not a name that a lot of people in DC know, but once they taste their beer, they’re going to become a hot item,” he shares. “I don’t even know what exactly Wicked Weed is going to be sending yet, but it’s going to be a mix of sours, IPAs, and some of their more neutral beers.”

While these two events are arguably the biggest that Meridian Pint will host, it’s worthwhile to note that they’re just two of thirteen events over the course of five days. There’s also Smoke & Barrel’s afternoon with Seattle’s Fremont Brewing – a brewery that’s not even participating in SAVOR this year. There’s a coffee beer night at Brookland Pint. The curation, organization, and promotion of one on any given week would probably be enough to stress out a beer director.

“This is the ambitious week of the year for us, at least in terms of events,” Gonnerman says.

I ask him if he’s still holding it together.

“For now, yes,” he answers. “Don’t ask me that same question this time next week.”

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FRIDAY

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Fremont SAVOR Pre-Party

Where: Smoke & Barrel

Who: Fremont Brewing

When: 3:00 p.m.

What: Fremont Brewing isn’t pouring at SAVOR, but Smoke & Barrel beer director Jace Gonnerman convinced them to send a bunch of beer anyway.

The Seattle brewery’s offerings will be highlighted by three beers from their renowned barrel-aging program: Bourbon Abominable Coffee-Cinnamon 2015 (14% Winter Warmer aged in oak bourbon barrels with coffee and cinnamon added), Bourbon Abominable 2015, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star 2015 (14.5% Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15 year-old, single-use, Kentucky Bourbon barrels). There will be seven other Fremont brews, too.

Click the link above to see the full list.

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Country Boy Brew & Shorts Brewing SAVOR Pre-Party

Where: Meridian Pint

Who: Country Boy Brewing

When: 3:00pm

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 Hop Vapin’ & Couch Trippin’

Where: City Tap House

Who: Lagunitas

When: 4:00pm ’til close.

What: No brewery likes a good weed reference like Lagunitas. City Tap House mini tap takeover will feature 10 to 15 of their beers. Apparently, there will be an inflatable couch, too.

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Maine Craft Beer Total Tap Takeover

Where: ChurchKey

Who: Allagash Brewing, Maine Beer Company, Oxbow BrewingTributary Brewing, Bunker Brewing, Liquid Riot Brewing, Banded Horn Brewing, and Foundation Brewing.

When: 4:00pm ’til close.

What: That’s a lot of Maine beer. Together, these breweries will take over all of ChurchKey’s draft lines. Check the full list here.

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 Late Night Brunch: SAVOR Edition

Where: City Tap House

When: 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m..

What:  Brunch food. Breakfast beers. You get the idea.

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SATURDAY

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3rd Annual Devils Backbone Riverboat Ramble

Where: Cherry Blossom Sternwheeler

Who: Devils Backbone, Allagash Brewing, Adroit Theory Brewing, Port City Brewing, and Ninkasi Brewing.

When: 10:30 a.m. til 1:30 p.m.

What: To call Devils Backbone’s Riverboat Ramble simply a booze cruise would be libel. I literally laughed out loud when I saw the list of beers that they would be serving on this jaunt up the Potomac River: Allagash’s Little Brett, Curieux, and Evora; Adroit Theory’s B/A/Y/S Imperial Stout and Two Headed Calf Farmhouse Ale; Ninkasi’s Hop Cooler IPA; Port City’s Metro Red; and, of course, seven offerings from Devils Backbone. Holy shit!

“It’s amazing to go see the history of DC from different perspective,” Devils Backbone founder Steve Crandall says in a statement. “Instead of sitting in traffic, you get to experience the sights and remarkable beers on the water.”

Steve, dog, you could take me on a cruise of the river Styx with this selection of beer and I’d probably enjoy the sights and sounds of bodies aflame.

But, yes, two-and-a-half hours on the Cherry Blossom Sternwheeler in early June does sound delightful. More details here.

Note: This is a ticketed event.

Extra Credit: Taste Test: Devils Backbone Adventure Collaboration Pack

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4 Decades of Craft

Where: City Tap House

Who: Deschutes, Dogfish Head, The Lost Abbey, and Wicked Weed Brewing,

When: 11:00 a.m. til close.

What: City Tap House celebrates four decades of craft beer with  a representative brewery from the ’80s (Deschutes), ’90s (Dogfish Head), ’00s (The Lost Abbey) and ’10s (Wicked Weed). This should inspire a fun parlor game for beer fans: Who’s your four decades dream team? This one is pretty solid. Dogfish founder Sam Calagione will be in attendance, too.

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Birch & Barley’s 5th Annual Brewer’s Brunch

Where: Birch & Barley

Who: Allagash Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing, The Lost Abbey, Great Raft Brewing, Spencer Brewery, and Melvin Brewing.

When: 11:00am

What: A Savor tradition, the Birch & Barley brewer’s brunch pairs five courses from Executive Chef Nicholas Sharpe with six rare beers. Head brewers and/or co-founders from all of these prestigious breweries will be in attendance to talk shop.

Note: This is a ticketed event.

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SAVOR 2016 Showcase: 36 Drafts from 9 Out-of-Market Brewers

Where: ChurchKey

When: 12:00pm

What: Check the list here.

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CANtenental Beer Brunch

Where: Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown)

Who: Oskar Blues

When: 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

What: Oskar Blues wasn’t the first craft brewery to put its beer in cans, but it was arguably the most prominent and influential. And all these years later, the brewery is still riding hard for aluminum receptacles. On Saturday, Georgetown’s Pizzeria Paradiso hosts a “CAN-tinental” brunch that will pair Oskar Blues cans with brunch pizzas. I repeat: brunch pizzas.

As if that wasn’t enticing enough, Oskar Blues head brewmaster Tim Matthews will be at the restaurant to talk through the beer and food pairings. Here are the beers being paired with dat sweet brunch pizza: Dales Pale Ale, Beerito, Koalafied Belgian IPA, and Simcoe Saison. (Dagga Belgian Pale, Pinner, and nitro Ten Fidy will also be in the house.)

Note: This is a ticketed event. Such tickets are $25.  Call 202-337-1245 to reserve.

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The Spencer Trappist Brewery Draft Feature

Where: The Sovereign

Who: Spencer Trappist Brewery

When: 1:00 p.m.

What: Spencer Trappist Brewery is the first and only Trappist certified beer producer in the United States. Their beer is made by the monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey. The Sovereign will be hosting the brewery’s Father Isaac and pouring its Trappist Ale, IPA, Feierabendbier, and Imperial Stout.

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Flying Dog Pre-SAVOR Beer Cocktail Happy Hour

Where: Sixth Engine

Who: Flying Dog Brewery

When: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

What: If you feel like you need to get a running start into SAVOR, Flying Dog and Sixth Engine have you covered. In addition to pouring beers from the Frederick brewery, Sixth Engine will be making cocktails utilizing four Flying Dog offerings: Bloodline Blood Orange Ale, Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale, Brewhouse Rarities Berliner Weiss, and Heat Series Ancho Lime Paradise Lager.

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Bar Deco SAVOR After-Party

Where: Bar Deco

Who: DC Brau, Port City Brewing, and Melvin Brewing

When: 10:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: Bar Deco’s SAVOR after party – which, to be clear, is open to all – brings together the two breweries making beer inside the beltway for the last five years: DC Brau and Port City. And for good measure, it adds Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing, the best small brewpub in the country according to last year’s Great American Beer Festival. (That might help explain why it appears to be the belle of the ball at SAVOR this year.)

DC Brau is bringing On the Wings of Armageddon and Pink Pallet Jack, its collaboration with Perennial Artisan Ales. Melvin, meanwhile, is pouring (Hop) Shocker IPA and 2×4 Double IPA. But the big ticket item is what Port City has in store.

In addition to serving its DC Brau collaboration dunkel Zehn Von Zehn, the Alexandria brewery will be debuting Amaro Double Wit, a limited edition “double wit” aged in amaro barrels from DC’s Don Ciccio e Figli. The local producer of classic Italian amari incorporates dozens of botanicals into bitter liqueurs before aging them in used Italian wine barrels.  Per a press release, Don Ciccio loaned one of these recently vacated barrels to Port City to age a beer.  In response, Port City brewed up a stronger version of its popular Optimal Wit to go in there.  The final product is the amaro barrel-aged double wit, a hazy golden beer with complex spice and herbal aromas.

Or so we’re told. Only one way to find out.

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The Unnecessary Drinks

Where: Jackpot

Who: Flying Dog Brewery

When: 11:00 p.m. ’til close.

What: Not content to organize just a pre-SAVOR happy hour, Flying Dog is taking over (some of) Jackpot’s taps for an after party. Some of the offerings scheduled to appear: the new Brewhouse Rarities Berliner Weiss; the also new Heat Series Ancho Lime Paradise Lager; the delicious Brewhouse Rarities Cold Press Coffee Porter; and the wildly popular Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale.

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SUNDAY

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Collaboration Brunch with Allagash & Deschutes

Where: Roofers Union

Who: Allagash Brewing and Deschutes

When: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

What:  “Allagash and Deschutes collaborated on this years SAVOR beer, so they approached us to set up a casual brunch,” Roofers Union manager Dave Delaplaine shares via e-mail. “Chef Marjorie [Meek-Bradley] has come up with some specials that pair to a few of the beers, including an Allagash Avance Bread Pudding!”

The non-ticketed event will feature a nice selection of rare finds from the two breweries, including Allagash’s Uncommon Crow (a wild ale brewed with Brett and a ton of blackberries) and Deschutes’ 2014 Dissident (an Oude Bruin, i.e. a Flanders-style sour brown ale). Check the full beer list here. Brewing teams and ownership from both breweries will be at Roofers Union to hang and talk shop.

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Third Annual Local Brewer’s Brunch

Where: City Tap House

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6th Annual Allagash Brunch

Where: Pizza Paradiso (Dupont Circle)

 

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