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I tooled on down to DC this past weekend to speak at Savor, a new craft beer and food extravaganza from the Brewers Association (an industry group of craft brewers). Have to say, it was pretty terrific—lots of very good beer, very few hairy drunk trolls in t-shirts and shorts (none in fact), and a fabulous venue. And wonder of wonders, we can now post pictures on our blogs here at F&W. Racing into the 22nd century, we are, leaving awe in our wake. Here's Savor:
Stupendous, ain't it? So, OK, tech is still working out some of the issues regarding, um, image size on this here blog of ours. But regardless, if you take some of the basic facts—Andrew Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Ave., just off the Mall; 2,000 attendees over three sessions; 48 breweries pouring 96 different craft beers—and squint at this tiny photo a bit, you'll get a dramatic mental image of the whole thing.
Anyway, I spoke on a panel entitled "Cross-Drinking Without Social Stigma." Sounds racy; in fact it was three generally-wine-focused journalists talking about why beer is so terrific for pairing with food. We had a little beer-and-cheese/chocolate-pairing shootout as well, which sad to say I did NOT win (though the final tally was almost a dead heat among all three of us). If you're interested, here's a link to the podcast of the seminar.
A lot of good beers were poured—in fact, a lot of terrific beers. Two new discoveries for me that were at the top of the heap were the Chicago-area Two Brothers Brewing Company's Domaine du Page, a French country ale or bière de garde which did a fine job of balancing its forward caramel sweetness against fresh, cleansing hop notes on the finish, and the rich, malty, meal-in-a-glass Tröegenator Double Bock from Tröegs Brewing Company in Central PA (my friend Matt, who knows his Tröegs products, also suggests that missing out on their Mad Elf Holiday Ale around Christmastime is an act of self-destructive madness). Both of these, unfortunately, have pretty regional distribution only, though Tröegs just came to New York, so that's something.
All in all, it was great to see the craft beer world take a piece of the high-end wine event action. Sources tell me there's a possibility of a similar event in NYC next year; I'm all for it.