Let's get it out of the way: we're prepared to take some flak for these picks, which are undeniably and indisputably correct.
Once again, area bars and restaurants have put together a tremendous selection of events for #SAVOR Week. Although these came a little bit later this year, it was certainly worth the wait. It's tough to pick 2-3 from each night that should definitely be on your radar. Why? Well, if they're on our radar, and we're telling you that you should go to them, there's a good chance they'll be fairly well attended, which means there may be less crowded events out there at which you can have a very good time. Still, we get asked all the time what we think shouldn't be missed. So here are some of the picks from our writers. You should look at our calendar and make your choices based on your preferences. Usual caveats, yadda yadda yadda, don't blame us if you hate an event, whatever.
Sunday, May 31
This is a fairly easy pick. Go to Smoke and Barrel for their 2nd Annual Pig Roast with Victory, Boulevard, Natty Greene's, and Ommegang. Doors at 11, pig plates will be ready around 5 or 6pm. Nice, relaxed event that will help you eeeeeeeeeease into SAVOR Week. Be sure to get some Boulevard Saison-Brett on draft.
Monday, June 1
Start off by going to ChurchKey for the 4 Hands tap takeover. If you're not going to SAVOR on Friday or Saturday, try their Madagascar and Super Flare, which they'll be serving at SAVOR and which made our Can't Miss Beer List for this year (shh, that's a sneak peek you're not supposed to know about yet). Once you're done at CK, walk back to The Big Hunt, where they'll be having their third edition of The Craft of Comedy. This features two beers each from 3 Stars, Atlas, Lagunitas, Sam Adams, and Victory. It's a lowkey event that features some great stand-up. It has been a lot of fun in the past and is a good alternative to the standard beer event. Also, DCBeer co-editor Bill DeBaun will be trying his hand at stand-up for the first time, so there's plenty of schadenfreude to be had around that.
Tuesday, June 2
Where you go Tuesday will be determined partially by your beer preferences and partially by your geography. Are you into big, bold, vintage beers? Meridian Pint. They're breaking into their vault and pulling out 18 vintage drafts. Highlights include 2012 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and 2012 Evolution Menagerie 8.
Brookland Pint, Meridian Pint's sister restaurant in, you guessed it, Brookland, doesn't want to be shown up by its big brot- err, sister, and so they'll be putting on a takeover with Allagash and Moonlight Meadery. Some real solid picks here including Moonlight Temerity (first time ever on draft!), a ry, black currant mead aged and fermented in Utopian barrels (Sam Adams Utopias barrels previously used to aged Moonlight mead) and Allagash Mattina Rossa and Nancy (both bottle pours).
Pizzeria Paradiso has an interesting event at its Georgetown and Dupont Circle locations Tuesday. They're calling it "Red (Georgetown) versus White (Dupont)," and these are red- and white-inspired beers, many of which are aged in wine barrels of their respective colors. Some intriguing tipples from here, especially among the reds: Oskar Blues Sherry Barrel Aged G’Knight and Trois Dames La Fiancee Pinot Noir.
Wednesday, June 3
This is another easy pick. Okay, so we're a little biased. We hope we'll see you at Scion Dupont and Crios Modern Mexican for Secret and Sour. 24 sour offerings from 24 breweries. The list is absurd. The prizes will be great…if you can match the beer to its description. Stay tuned Monday when we release the clues on the site so you can start familiarizing yourselves. Our blind tasting series has been well received and a lot of fun, we can't imagine that the latest edition will be any different than those that preceded it. Highlights here include nearly all of them to be honest. But especially out of town offerings Sun King Cherry Busey and Surly Pentagram and in-town reps 3 Stars Cognitive Dissonance and Atlas Red Wine Saison de Brett.
If you don't like sour beer, that's okay. We'll still be your friend. ChurchKey has an event that's also sure to be popular. They've got Asheville favorite Wicked Weed making their DC debut. Plenty of sours on that list, but also some tasty-sounding IPAs and other oddballs like Wicked Weed Imperial Coolcumber (Gin BA Blond w/ Cucumber, Basil & Juniper).
Hey, do you live in Virginia? That's cool because the Hardywood event at Rustico Ballston might be accessible to you. Head to the Ballston location which has three kegs that are rarities (though the entire Hardywood portfolio is worth your exploration): Hardywood Park Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged Milk Stout, Hardywood Park Pineapple Great Return, Hardywood Park Bourbon Barrel-Aged Raspberry Stout with Vanilla.
Honorable mention on Wednesday goes to Smoke and Barrel (Kentucky's Country Boy and Schlafly teaming up with some out-of-the-ordinary offerings).
Thursday, June 4
God, what an embarrassment of riches Thursday is. It seems like it goes this way every Thursday of every beer week. It's distressing how much good beer will be on tap on Thursday because it's physiologically impossible to have everything you'll want to. If you're willing to splurge and go on a bit of a bender, pick up tickets to American Fare: Red, White + Brew, which will be on the roof of 101 Constitution and feature food from Charlie Palmer and beers from four local breweries for $50, or head to Little Serow for an (always) insane Thai dinner with Oxbow beer pairings, or go to The Hamilton for a multi-course dinner with Flying Dog's Jim Caruso and Sam Adams' Jim Koch, or go to Daikaya for a multi-course dinner with Boulevard. Hitting one of these early leaves you free to hit somewhere else, which will probably now be less crowded. That's strategery.
But what to hit afterward?
- Jack Rose Dining Saloon is featuring a bevy of sours from New Belgium, but also some offerings from Wicked Weed and locals like 3 Stars and Atlas.
- ChurchKey will feature Funky Buddha and Cigar City, two very well-respected Florida breweries.
- The very-well respected FATE Brewing Company will be at Scion Dupont. If you won't be at SAVOR, check out their Tequila Barrel Aged Uror Gose (Bottle Pour)
- Do you live closer to Brookland? Head back to Brookland Pint and clean up on their barrel-aged offerings. These are nightcaps you certainly won't regret.
Seriously. Thursday is a doozy. Check the calendar, you will absolutely find something you like. Call out of work Friday now. You're not making it.
Friday, June 5
Friday's plan diverges depending on whether you're headed to SAVOR or not.
If you are, take it easy and go either to Pizza P Dupont to pre-game with Oxbow and Millstone. Or go to City Tap House and try to Stump the Cicerone with Boulevard. This latter event is a pretty neat idea. Neil Witte is one of nine master cicerones in the world. If you can ask Neil a beer related question he doesn't know the answer to (and you do) then you get free prize from Boulevard or Ommegang.
If you aren't going to SAVOR, you'll want to start at ChurchKey for the Kuhnhenn tap takeover. These 20 drafts and five casks from Warren, Michigan are only available during SAVOR Week. So get them while they're here. After you get your fill, saunter up to Adams Morgan and get a pulled pork sandwich from The Black Squirrel while drinking some Lonerider.
Regardless of whether you go or not, head to City Tap House for late-night brunch. It'll be like Denny's but with more IBUs.
Saturday, June 6
The consensus pick on staff here is the annual Birch and Barley Brewers' Brunch, but at the time of this writing, they have a handful of tickets left. After the brunch, however, ChurchKey upstairs will feature 40 drafts from the brunching breweries, including Allagash, Bluejacket, Country Boy, Maine, Ninkasi, and Sierra Nevada.
Can't make the B&B brunch? Try one at L&F. That's Lost and Found, who will host New Belgium for a pop-up beer blending brunch (with head brewer Peter Bouckaert and a live jazz band).
In the afternoon, head up to Petworth to see DC Reynolds, DC Brau, and Sun King. Beers will be buy one, get one from 5-9p, so if you're not going to SAVOR, it's almost like drinking for free as if you were at SAVOR…except you're drinking for 50% off.
If you're in the mood to support our friends up I-95, be sure to stop by The Black Squirrel as they host Union Brewing Company, The Brewer's Art, and Oliver Ales all day.
Sunday, June 7
If you're still with us, we commend you. Also can we borrow some money because we ran out. Thanks. No. More than $5. Yeah that's right.
Sunday, our long city-wide brunch nightmare continues. City Tap House hosts their second annual Locals Only Brunch. Food is a la carte from the regular brunch menu, but beer offerings will be from…yep…context clues…only local breweries.
Once you're fed and watered, head over to The Black Squirrel, who will hold their 5th annual All Ale the Ladies event. Reservations can be made here. Light hors d'oeuvres and a beer selected by each featured guest will be served. All are welcome. There is no admission charge but beers are pay-as-you-go. Mingle with amazing women of craft beer.
Then get some sleep.
Monday, June 8
Seriously, if you're still drinking Monday, please see a doctor. But we'll probably see you at ChurchKey because Lagunitas is having a tap takeover and the Lagunitas High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout (Rye Whiskey BA Imperial Stout w/ Coffee) is absurdly good and can't be missed.
Alright, so what did we miss, what did we get wrong, and where will we see you all? Leave it in the comments. Have a safe and happy SAVOR Week. Remember: be patient with bar staff, and don't forget to tip. These are long weeks for your industry folks. Lots of line cleanings and tap changes. Cheers!