For the fourth year, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to sort out the massive list of beers at Snallygaster and power rank them!
Snallygaster, the eighth annual beer festival brought to you by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, is one of the best beer festivals in the United States and one of the crown jewels of our beer scene.
Your DCBeer editors (and some knowledgeable local folks) have sorted through the list and ranked them. Take note that Snallygaster 2019 is mixing it up a bit; beers no longer cost tickets, and with the price removed from the calculations we think you’ll see long lines for some of the more coveted beers at the festival.
(Be sure to check out all of DC Beer’s coverage of Snallygaster 2019!)
Per usual, the standard is “what we’ve done here is think about what our predilections would be on the day-of. Which beers would we be most likely to drink, to wait in line for?” This takes into consideration a great number of things: the esteem in which we hold a brewery, our relative style preferences, our understanding of a given beer’s reputation, ABV, and availability (we’re not, by and large, going to Snallygaster 2019 to drink things we can typically get).
In some cases, but not all, we’ve consulted rating sites like Untappd, Beer Advocate, and RateBeer [and we thank each of these sites for being great resources]. In some cases, we’ve consulted the breweries’ websites.
What we’ve cobbled together is a rough approximation of our relative preference for the beers that will be available. Note that not all of us have had all of these beers. We make no claim to that effect (it would be extraordinary if we had). Instead, we’re using the factors above and our preferences to make our own lists. Also, note that none of us are big fans of lactose.
How did we go about doing this? Each beer was ranked 1 to 4 according to each scorer’s personal preference and predilection for ordering.
Last year we did a second round of scoring, so that every beer that got a 2, for example, was then ranked against its peers. This year the Nats actually made a playoff run, so you only get one round of ranks; the beers are in tiers on the spreadsheet below, in alphabetical order. But you do get more baseball, which is good.
Big thanks to some folks whose expertise we relied on this year, including Donnie Hatcher’s third go-around. He’s joined by Laura Lopez, marketing expert for Port City, now in her second year. Your DCBeer.com content team chimed in as well. So thanks to me, Mike Stein, and Tony Budny. It’s a heavy lift to do the power rankings, but it’s a labor of love for all of you.
Obviously this is not scientific, so don’t come beating down our Twitter accounts for putting your favorite IPA at #57 instead of #55. Make your own power rankings. Want to chat rationally about what you think we got wrong or under- or over-ranked? Let us know on Twitter at @DCBeer! We’d love to hear from you.
A few last things before we finally get to it:
1. We’ve tried to be sensitive to last-minute changes to the beer list, but exceptions and mistakes will occur. If there’s something on here that doesn’t make it to Snallygaster 2019, remember that it’s just beer, there are at least 390 other options.
2. No hard feelings, breweries. It’s not that we don’t like you or your beers (generally, at least), this is the nature of power rankings.
3. The list at Snallygaster really is an embarrassment of beer riches that we shouldn’t take for granted. Kudos to Greg, Tim, and the NRG team for putting this together.
4. Want to join in the fun? Tickets are still available.
All that said, awaaaaaaaay we go! Have fun and be safe at Snally! Want to view this in Google Docs? We got you.
DC Beer’s Snallygaster 2019 Power Rankings
Rank • Brewery • Beer Name • Style • ABV • Snallygaster Station
1. Cantillon • Fou’Foune • Lambic w/ Apricots • 5.5% • Kraken
Yes, this is a really good beer, but I’m going to hang my colleagues out to dry here. First, you can get this on a semi-regular basis at The Sovereign, and I’m pretty sure a festival with 400ish beers is not the best place to enjoy this particular beer. I rated it a 3 out of 4, everyone else rated it a 4. – Jake Berg
2. Weissenohe • Pils • Pilsner (Gravity Keg) • 5.0% • Leviathan
Note that the top 8 are lagers and lambics. What a fun bunch we are.
3. Cantillon • Rosé de Gambrinus • Lambic w/ Raspberries • 5.0% • Kraken
4. Bierstadt • Slow Pour Pils • Pilsner • 5.1% • Jabberwock
If this beer is really being slow poured there will be lines around the festival for it.
5. 3 Fonteinen • Intense Red 2019 • Lambic w/ Cherries • 6.0% • Kraken
6. Weissenohe • Altfränkisch Klosterbier (#6) • Märzen (Gravity Keg) • 5.0% • Leviathan
7. Weissenohe • Mönchskeller (#8) • Märzen (Gravity Keg) • 5.0% • Leviathan
8. Weissenohe • Green MONKey: Polaris (#3) • Kellerbier (Gravity Keg) • 5.8% • Leviathan
9. TRVE • Spirit Ritual • Mixed Fermentation Saison w/ Plums • 6.1% • Medusa
10. TRVE • Starving Gods of Old • Mixed Fermentation Saison w/ Peaches • 6.2% • Medusa
11. Threes • Vliet • Pilsner • 5.2% • Kraken
12. pFriem • Pilsner • Pilsner • 4.9% • Jabberwock
They brought this to SAVOR. It’s very very good.
13. pFriem • Pruim • Barrel-Aged Wild Ale w/ Plums (Spontaneous) • 6.3% • Jabberwock
14. Mahr’s • aU Ungespundet Naturtrüb • Kellerbier • 5.2% • Gamera
15. Mahr’s • Helles • Helles Lager • 4.9% • Gamera
16. Hill Farmstead • Clara • Mixed Fermentation Grisette • 4.0% • Kraken
17. • Great Raft • Come What Mayhaw • Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale w/ Mayhaws (Upland Collab.) • 7.0% • Gamera
18. De Garde • F.A.I.L. • Barrel-Aged Mixed Fermentation Lager • 5.5% • Mothra
19. Bierstadt • Märzen • Märzen • 5.0% • Jabberwock
20. 3 Fonteinen • Cuvée Armand & Gaston 2018 • Gueuze • 5.5% • Kraken
21. 3 Fonteinen • Oude Kriek 2016 • Lambic w/ Cherries • 6.0% • Kraken
22. Crooked Stave • L’Brett d’Or Grand Cru • Sauvignon Blanc Barrel-Aged Sour Blond Ale • 5.0% • Gamera
23. Wolves & People • Rubus • Grisette w/ Boysenberries • 3.6% • Jabberwock
24. Weissenohe • Green MONKey: Hersbrucker (#2) • Kellerbier (Gravity Keg) • 5.8% • Leviathan
25. Mönchsambacher • Lagerbier • Kellerbier • 5.5% • Gamera
26. Jester King • Urban Mutation • Barrel-Aged Mixed Fermentation Saison w/ Motueka Hops & Honey (Other Half Collab.) • 10.0% • Medusa
27. Hill Farmstead • Bière De Mars • Mixed Fermentation Bière De Mars • 6.5% • Kraken
28. Garden Path • The Little Horse Around • Barrel-Aged Table Beer w/ Brettanomyces • 4.1% • Nessie
29. De Garde • The Samognier • Barrel-Aged Wild Ale w/ Viognier Grapes (Spontaneous) • 8.4% • Mothra
30. Crooked Stave • Member Berries: Cabernet Franc • Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale w/ Cabernet Franc Grapes • 7.6% • Gamera
31. Cantillon • Classic Gueuze 100% • Gueuze • 5.5% • Kraken
32. Black Narrows • Friendship & Fragaria • Barrel-Aged Wild Ale w/ Strawberries (Spontaneous) • 5.0% • Rodan
33. American Solera • Kingdom of Spiders • Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale w/ Merlot Grapes • 10.0% • Medusa
34. American Solera • Save 750 • Mixed Fermenation Table Beer (Stillwater Collab.) • 4.8% • Medusa
35. 3 Fonteinen • Oude Gueuze • 2016 • Gueuze • 6.0% • Kraken
Tony Budny, explain yourself!
My rankings have some basic criteria attached to them. Despite the fact that I have definitely not consumed the majority of the beers on this list, I have consumed many of them. I have also consumed many beers in general, which makes me a foremost expert on beer drinking, according to science.
I have a preference for styles and I am also a sucker for beers put in barrels of any sort, so those may rank a bit higher on my list. I am also a sucker for imperial stouts and other ales that, when held up to the sun, allow less light to get through, so those are also probably ranked higher.
I don’t necessarily use rarity of the beer as a criteria to rank a beer higher, but at a fest like Snallygaster 2019, priorities are essential, so beers that will be leftover at the end are ranked lower than those that may sell out sooner and breweries you don’t see in DC often are also ranked higher.
Also, any beer that is in a vessel that we don’t find often here, such as the German lagers in gravity kegs, are ranked higher than many will. Those avid readers of this website will know that they are a favorite of DC Beer Dot Com staff. Some things never change.Tony Budny
We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful time at Snallygaster 2019. Be sure to share your experiences with us on social media, @DCBeer!