Last Friday night, I tried 22 new beers, scarfed down a few squares of the best cheesecake ever, shook Jim Koch’s hand, and ate some truly amazing cheese.
Thanks to Sara’s serving job, we scored two free tickets to one of the biggest events in the craft beer world. SAVOR—a two-night event that paired delectable food with craft beer—was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
More than 70 breweries were stationed at tables inside the National Building Museum‘s large atrium, each serving up samples of two brews. Squeezed between the crowded mass of brewers and drinkers were trays of gourmet finger food with signs describing how the bite-size morsels complemented the beer you were swigging. I’ve never felt so swanky.
After my second or third beer sample, I realized two things:
1. I would have to let go of my idea of weaving an organized path across the room
2. There was no way I’d be able to drink two ounces of beer from every table I hit
Conveniently, each brewery’s table had a pitcher for dumping beer and water for rinsing your glass. I quickly worked out a system of taking a couple sips, deciding whether or not I liked what I had, and pouring out the rest. After three hours of talking about beer and watching the cheeks on everyone in the room flush deeper red, I was surprisingly almost-sober, in the best way.
As a parting gift—as if hours in a room filled with all my worldly delights weren’t enough—every ticket-holder received a bottle of a special Sierra Nevada and Boulevard collaboration created specifically for SAVOR.
The Terra Incognita was a sour, sweet, earthy, STRONG beer, weighing in at 12% ABV, with just enough bitterness to make it incredibly enjoyable to drink.
After downing 22 samples of amazing craft beer, I admit I don’t remember them all (though I did make a list!). But I do remember my favorite—Cane and Ebel from Two Brothers Brewing Co. out of Warrenville, Illinois, which was also my last beer of the night. I had thrown in the towel on the decadent evening until I walked past their table. For whatever reason, I stuck out my glass for a pour and pulled back a deep red rye ale, full of hops and earthy grains. A truly well-crafted beer from a microbrewery I’d never heard of—my night was complete.
I also got to meet Jim Koch, did I mention that? As in, the founder of Sam Adams. He was there, slinging samples of oyster stout, posing for pictures, and smiling wide as he popped mini crab cakes—just as I always imagined him.
Needless to say, it was an amazing night. If you ever have tickets to something like this that you need taken off your hands, I will gladly help you out.