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Heading to Snallygaster? Here’s What You Should Know and Drink

Thanks to Chris Van Orden for his hefty contributions to this piece.

In case you somehow haven't heard, Snallygaster returns tomorrow. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group's massive beer festival/event/spectacular will feature over 300 beers and way more than 300 attendees. You can find info on tickets, an extensive FAQ, and all that on their website. We're not going to reinvent the wheel. What we are going to do is say holy shit this beer list is intimidatingly impressive and immense. If you thought narrowing down what you want to drink at ChurchKey is time-consuming, this is kind of like that…times 6.5.

We were going to power rank all of the beers at Snallygaster for your #content-consuming amusement, but that path was fraught with danger. Where do you put a beer like Allagash White, which is a top class example of a witbier but also widely available? It probably winds up somewhere in the mid-to-low 200s because there are so many beers you can't get everywhere else that will be at Snally. So we abandoned the power ranking approach. If you'd like to know where I'd rank any of the given beers, you can tweet at me.

So then we decided we'd do the SAVOR approacha and try to pick out some suggestions. "Some" is such a slippery word. You start with 10 and then yadda, yadda, yadda you wind up with 80. Please do not drink 80 beers tomorrow.

Before we get to those suggestions though, some notes about the beer list overall. Thanks to Chris Van Orden for compiling this:

  • Average ABV is 7.4%, which ranges from 2.6% to 19.2%.
  • If one were to attempt to drink a four ounce pour of all 324 beers there, that's 95.9 oz of pure alcohol, over four and a half 750 mL bottles of 40 proof liquor.
  • Of the 324 beers being poured, 63 are DC debuts, 17 are casks, 21 are vintage, and 11 are in gravity kegs.  Some overlap these categories.
  • California is the state with the most beers being poured (47), followed by MD (33), VA (31), DC (23), PA (16), MI (14), NY (14), MO (13), ME (12), and NC (11). 
  • There are 14 other states with 10 or fewer beers. 
  • There are 20 collaboration beers.
  • 32 beers were brewed overseas.
  • 51 beers are sour or use wild yeasts.
  • 69 are barrel-aged in some way.
  • 68 are IPAs (we took a very inclusive definition of IPA, to be fair).

Alright, with that said, here are some beers we think you should try to have tomorrow at Snally. A couple of notes here bear emphasizing.

  1. Your mileage may vary. These are the beers that some of us here at DCBeer are interested in trying and suggest that you try. Either because they sound interesting, or they're hard to get, or we just think they're delicious beers you should put in your mouth. This isn't the be-all, end-all definitive list. Such a list doesn't exist.
  2. In most cases we left beers off that are easy to get in the market. Except where we didn't. Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone, etc. etc.
  3. These are roughly categorized by NRG's flavor profile categorizations. I say roughly because Greg Engert might disagree with where we put some choices (sorry, Greg, we think this raspberry wheat beer should go under "Roast"). Or he might not. Who knows. The point is, if you know you like a certain flavor profile, we broke it out for you that way. We are nice people.
  4. The beers are in roughly descending order of what's most notable/interesting. We suspect a lot of beers will kick tomorrow, so we've given you plenty of choices here anticipating that.
  5. For the love of all that's holy please be patient with the volunteers tomorrow.
  6. It's just beer. Let us remind you that pre-emptively. It's just beer. If you can't get any of these and wind up with a Sierra Nevada Torpedo or something else you normally see on the shelves, you're still winding up with a great beer.

Here we go!

Tart and Funky

Yes, there are a lot of these on our list. No, we are not apologetic about it. Yes, we do eat a lot of Tums. Yes, you can have some.

  • Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus  – Lambic (w/ Raspberries) | Belgium | 5.0%
  • BRAUBÄCKER BERLINER WEISSE  – BERLINER WEISSE | GERMANY | 2.6%
  • OEC Artista Zynergia: Gosatequin – Barrel-Aged Gose (Gin/ Pinot Noir & Tequila) | Connecticut | 5.0%
  • The Bruery Terreux Gypsy Tart – Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale | California | 8.4% | DC Debut!
  • Allagash Ghoulschip – Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Ale (Spontaneous Fermentation) | Maine | 6.9%
  • Firestone Walker Feral One (Batch #2) – Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale | California | 6.7% | DC Debut!
  • Union Craft 3rd Stone – Sour Blond Ale (w/ Apricots) | Maryland | 5.5% | DC Debut!
  • Hardywood Park Cucumber's Eve – Berliner Weisse (w/ Cucumber) | Virginia | 3.2% | DC Debut!
  • Perennial Blood Orange Suburban Beverage – Gose (w/ Citrus Peel, Key Lime & Blood Orange) | Missouri  4.2% | DC Debut!
  • The Bruery Terreux Tart of Darkness  – Barrel-Aged Stout | California | 7.2%
  • Bluejacket Kelsey & Greg's Wedding Ale – Sour Blond Ale (w/ Peaches & Nectarines) | Washington, DC | 4.0% | DC Debut!
  • Ritterguts Gose – Gose | Germany | 4.7%
  • Freigeist Abraxxxas  – Lichtenhainer | Germany | 6.0%   
  • Green Flash Flanders Drive  – Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale (Bourbon) | California | 6.9%
  • Grimm Super Going  – Dry-Hopped Gose (w/ Orange Zest & White Oak) | New York | 4.8% | DC Debut!
  • Lost Rhino Bramble-Frumenti – Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale (Red Wine; w/ Blackberries) | Virginia | 7.0%
  • Manor Hill Mojito Sour Blond – Sour Blond Ale (w/ Wintergreen & Key Lime) | Maryland | 7.1% | DC Debut!
  • Natty Greene's American Sour  – Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale | North Carolina | 6.5% | DC Debut!
  • New Belgium Love: Peach Oscar  – Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale (Peach Whiskey) | Colorado & North Carolina | 8.5%
  • Ballast Point Sour Wench – Berliner Weisse (w/ Blackberries) | California | 5.4%
  • Bear Republic Tartare Rouge (Vintage 2013) – Foeder-Aged Sour Red Ale | California | 6.0% | Vintage Brew
  • BOULEVARD LOVE CHILD #5  – BARREL-AGED SOUR RED ALE (WHISKEY & RED WINE) | MISSOURI | 8.2% | DC DEBUT
  • Smuttynose Smuttlabs: Bière de 'Shire – Saison (w/ Brettanomyces) | New Hampshire | 8.3%
  • Jolly Pumpkin Rojzilla – Foeder-Aged Sour Red Ale | Michigan | 7.4%
  • Buxton Far Skyline  – Dry-Hopped Berliner Weisse | England | 4.9%
  • HaandBryggeriet Haandbakk – Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale | Norway | 8.5%
  • Hanssens Scarenbecca Kriek – Lambic (w/ Schaerbeekse Cherries) | Belgium | 6.0%
  • Burley Oak Sorry Chicky – Dry-Hopped Sour Blond Ale | Maryland | 4.4%
  • Right Proper Kodachrome Dream(ing) – Dry-Hopped Radler (w/ Grapefuit, Lemon & Lime Zest) | Washington, DC | 4.5%

Crisp

It's criminal how many people don't take advantage of the gravity kegs at these events. These beers are rarely seen in the US and are masterpieces of balance. Do yourself a favor and get at least a few of these.

  • Mahr's Bräu – Ungespundet Hefetrüb | Kellerbier | Germany | 4.7%
  • Ungespundet Hefetrüb | Kellerbier | Germany | 4.7%
  • Weißenoher Green Monkey: Hersbrucker  – Dry-Hopped Kellerbier | Germany | 5.8% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • Bayer Theinheim Ungespundetes Landbier  – Kellerbier | Germany | 4.7% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • Weißenoher Eucharius – Pilsner (Kellerbier) | Germany | 4.9% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • Mahr's Bräu Pilsner – Pilsner | Germany | 4.9%
  • Löwenbräu Buttenheim Kellerbier  – Kellerbier | Germany | 4.8% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • Weißenoher Classic Bioland Export  – Kellerbier | Germany | 5.2% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • Weißenoher Red MONKey: Mandarina Bavaria – Dry-Hopped Dark Lager (Kellerbier) | Germany | 5.0% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg

Hop

People still apparently drink hoppy beers?

  • Maine Beer A Tiny Beautiful Something – Pale Ale | Maine | 5.5%
  • Founders Red's Rye IPA: Coconut – Rye IPA (w/ Coconut) | Michigan | 6.6% | Cask; DC Debut!
  • Terrapin & Cigar City Vapricot – IPA (w/ Apricot & Ginger) | Georgia & Florida | 9.0% | DC Debut!
  • Atlas Wet Hop American Summer (2nd Anniversary Ale)  – Fresh Hop Pale Ale | Washington, DC | 5.1%
  • Blue Mountain Local D.O.P.A. – Imperial Fresh-Hop IPA (w/ Oats) | Virginia | 8.0% | DC Debut!
  • DC Brau   On the Wings of Armageddon: Pineapple & Tangerine – Imperial IPA (w/ Pineapple & Tangerine) | Washington, DC | 9.2% | Cask
  • Flying Dog The Gourd Standard – Pumpkin IPA | Maryland | 6.7%
  • Flying Dog The Truth (Pineapple & Citra)  – Imperial IPA (w/ Pineapple & Dry-Hopped w/ Citra) | Maryland | 8.7% | Cask
  • Alpine Duet  – IPA | California | 7.0%  
  • Bear Republic Olde Scoutter's Barley Wine (Vintage 2010)  – Barleywine | California | 10.4% | Vintage Brew

Roast

Pace yourselves. Look at these ABVs.

  • Oskar Blues Death By Coconut  – Porter (w/ Coconut & Dark Chocolate) | Colorado & North Carolina | 6.5%
  • Port City Colossal One: Red Wine Barrel-Aged – Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (Red Wine) | Virginia | 10.0%
  • The Bruery Grey Monday – Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (Bourbon; w/ Hazelnuts) | California | 19.2% | DC Debut!
  • Hardywood Park Ruse – Barrel-Aged Imperial Sweet Stout (Red Wine) | Virginia | 13.5% | DC Debut!
  • Old Ox Bourbon Barrel Black Ox  – Barrel-Aged Porter (Bourbon; w/ Rye) | Virginia | 6.0%
  • Foothills Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate – Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (Bourbon; w/ Cocoa) | North Carolina | 10.0%
  • Prairie Bomb!  – Imperial Stout (w/ Coffee, Chocolate, Vanilla & Chili Peppers) | Oklahoma | 13.0%
  • Avery Pump[KY]n (Vintage 2014)  – Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter (Bourbon; w/ Pumpkin & Spices) | Colorado | 17.2% | Vintage Brew

Fruit and Spice

This was something of a catch-all category for us. But since you're not paying us for this post, we're okay with it. We almost put a Russian imperial stout in here just to see if you were paying attention.

  • Avery Anniversary Twenty Two – Belgian Blond Ale (w/ Brettanomyces) | Colorado | 6.8% | DC Debut!
  • Jester King Hibernal Dichotomous  – Saison (w/ Beets, Orange Juice, Orange Zest & Thyme) | Texas | 4.9% | DC Debut!
  • Smuttynose Smuttlabs: Rouge de Shire – Oak-Aged Saison (Oak Chips; w/ Raspberries) | New Hampshire | 4.9% | DC Debut!
  • Avery Rumpkin (Vintage 2014) – Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Ale (Rum) | Colorado | 18.1% | Vintage Brew
  • Green Flash Oculus Sauvage – Barrel-Aged Belgian IPA (Red Wine; w/ Brettanomyces) | California | 10.1% | DC Debut!
  • Heavy Seas The Great'ER Pumpkin (Vintage 2014) – Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Bourbon) | Maryland | 10.0% | Vintage Brew
  • Bell's Mango-Habanero Oberon – Barrel-Aged Wheat Ale (Bourbon; w/ Habaneros & Mangoes) | Michigan | 6.6% | DC Debut!
  • Ithaca White Gold: Chardonnay Barrel-Aged – Barrel-Aged Belgian Strong Blond Ale (Chardonnay) | New York | 8.0% | DC Debut!
  • Jailbreak Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Carrot Cake – Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Bourbon; w/ Carrots) | Maryland | 11.0%
  • Foothills Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate – Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (Bourbon; w/ Cocoa) | North Carolina | 10.0%
  • Perennial Savant Beersel – Barrel-Aged Belgian Strong Blond Ale (Cabernet Sauvignon; w/ Brettanomyces & Red Wine Grapes) | Missouri | 8.0%
  • Saucony Creek Captain Pumpkin’s Maple Mistress – Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Pennsylvania | 9.5%
  • Victory Hoppy Quad – Dry-Hopped Belgian Strong Blond Ale | Pennsylvania | 13.0% | DC Debut!
  • Firestone Walker Opal  – Dry-Hopped Saison | California | 7.5%
  • Victory MonkMosa: Golden Monkey with Orange Peel & Cardamom – Tripel (w/ Orange Peel & Cardamom) | Pennsylvania | 9.5% | Cask

Cider

Have you heard of apples?

  • Millstone Debauched Cider – Barrel-Aged American Dry Cider (Juniper & Applewood-Smoked) | Maryland | 8.0%
  • Millstone Espanã – Barrel-Aged American Dry Cider (Sherry) |  Maryland | 8.0% | DC Debut!

Malt

Same advice about gravity kegs applies here. There are some truly beautiful beers in this section. If you miss out on them, we don't want to hear it.

  • Jester King Commercial Suicide  – Foeder-Aged Mild | Texas | 2.9% | DC Debut!
  • Weißenoher Monk's Fest – Märzen (Kellerbier) | Germany | 5.2% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg
  • District ChopHouse Nut Brown: Hazelnuts & Cocoa Nibs – Brown Ale (w/ Hazelnuts & Cocoa) | Washington, DC | 5.4%
  • The Civil Life Oktoberfest – Märzen | Missouri | 5.5%
  • Hofstetten Hochzeitsbier von 1810  – Märzen | Austria | 6.3% | Wood-Clad Gravity Keg
  • District ChopHouse Oktoberfest: Wet Sunbeam Hops – Märzen (Dry-Hopped w/ Wet Hops) | Washington, DC | 5.5% | Cask
  • Weißenoher Altfränkisch Klosterbier  – Märzen | German | 5.1% | Rubber-Clad Gravity Keg

Smoke

Surgeon general's warning: smoking is bad for you.

  • AleWerks Mesquite Smoked Brown – Brown Ale (w/ Mesquite-Smoked Malt) | Virginia | 6.4% | DC Debut!

Have a great time out there everyone!

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