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DCBeer’s SAVOR 2012 Recap!

With any luck, this is the post that will put SAVOR 2012 to bed here at DCBeer. This was a long SAVOR season for us. We did SAVOR brewery profiles for the second year running, which was, um, enlightening…and time-consuming. We did a top 10 SAVOR Week beer guide and a top 25 SAVOR beers not to miss list. We maintained a SAVOR Week calendar that was the most comprehensive in DC. Basically, we’re SAVORed the hell out.

We’ve been posting, tweeting, and talking about SAVOR for so long that it’s like a relationship we need to break off. But there needs to be some closure. So here it is.

Some of the DCBeer writers went ahead and gave their parting thoughts about the main event, what all the hooplah and posts were spurred by. Here you go, folks, our DCBeer SAVOR 2012 recap:

Jake Berg: There are some breweries who really get what SAVOR is all about. Bells, Foothills, and Stone all had their regular offerings kick, only to put on rarer, more esoteric, and aged beers. When Bell’s ran out of The Wild One, an oud bruin style, perhaps the tartest, driest beer at SAVOR, they put on their Expedition and Double Cream stouts, and their 2008 Eccentric Ale. I walked over to Foothills to see if they had any People’s Porter left and just stared, dumbfounded, at a Sexual Chocolate tap handle for a good minute before stammering if that was what they were pouring. A sixtel of that at ChurchKey didn’t last until sundown in June of 2010. I had three pours of it and walked around the building grinning like an idiot. When Stone’s unnamed IPA kicked, they brought out the Vertical Epics from 2007 to 2011. All three of these breweries went the extra mile.

Chris Van Orden: Some salon attendees got a second glass this year. It looked like Spiegelau cosponsored the Cambridge salon, so we all walked out with two glasses. With no bag, I couldn’t stash the second, so I wound up trying both options from each brewery at the outset (yet I still survived). In the end, I gave one glass away to a guy who lost his. Moral: a free glass is solid swag; two free glasses is gratuitous.

Bill DeBaun: I’d like to apologize to anyone following me on Twitter who got to see the long train of tweets that erupted from me at the end of SAVOR. The key takeaways from those tweets are that I had a much better time at SAVOR 2012 than SAVOR 2011 because I paid more attention to the people this year than the beer and that we need to always remember the people behind the beer we drink because it’s their passion and innovation that produces what we love to drink so much.

Jake Berg: Greg Kitsock already mentioned this, but the sours this year were uniformly and singularly, for a style as a whole, excellent. It’s a very good sign for American craft beer that brewers and breweries from all over the country are not only making sour beers, but mastering them.

Bill DeBaun: I have to agree with the esteemed Mr. Kitsock. This year’s best beers were sours. Whether it was the sour version of Jolly Pumpkin and Maui’s collaboration Sobrehumano Palena ‘ole, Upland’s Gilgamesh, or Oakshire Skookumchuck Wild Ale, fans of beers fermented with yeasts other than Saccharomyces were content at SAVOR 2012. I had an interesting conversation with one of the founders of La Chouffe where I told him that Skookumchuck was proof that American gueuze exists. A conversation ensued about the merits of sourness in sour beer where my point was that the American sours have only been around in earnest for a little over a decade. My Belgian colleague was not impressed when I told him I’d be happy to join him at SAVOR 2162 to sample the perfected American interpretations on the style. Snark aside, the sours at SAVOR were fantastic this year.

Mike Stein: While the “Drink Local” event put on by BeerAdvocate was well-attended, it was also virtually troll-free. Jason and Todd were in the house, as were brewers and representatives from Oliver Ales, DC Brau, DuClaw, 3 Stars, and many others (some from the midwest and west coast!). Cask master and cellarman extraordinaire Tim Prendergast did a solid job of making sure no cask went unturned and John Andrade and Sam Fitz were gracious hosts to all brewers from near and far in attendance. This was truly an event which made #dcbrews proud. As a whole, it seems that less beer was left behind as a result of SAVOR 2012 compared to SAVOR 2011. The Upland lambics didn’t last the night. However, don’t concern yourself with such simple-minded matters. After all, beer (yes, even Upland Lambic) is for the drinking.

Jake Berg: The food at SAVOR was significantly better this year, and most of the pairings I experienced were better matched and more intuitive than last year. Allagash Interlude with the Asian pear in phyllo, many sours with the roasted beet and chevre tartlet, and anything with the huckleberry and meyer lemon cream puff, in particular, were great.

Bill DeBaun: Seconded on the Meyer lemon cream puff. If someone who is skilled at baking could make me a few dozen of those, I will supply the Berlinerweisses to pair them with.

Jake Berg: All of the salons will be podcasted by Craft Beer Radio if anyone wants to hear what they missed out on.

So what about all of you? What were your highlights of SAVOR Beer Week and SAVOR itself? Leave it in the comments and let us know. Then, we promise, we’re done with SAVOR for a while.

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