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The Top 20 Beers of SAVOR 2022

Well, there are now about 230 beers being poured at SAVOR. We remember when it was 144. My, how we’ve all grown up!
A word on methodology, a crack team of cis het white doods checked off the available beers via a secret ballot, then we started counting votes. Just like Snally, we’re probably inclined to vote for shiny new out-of-towners and beers that aren’t readily available in the DC market, and with 3-ounce pours we’ve gone a bit high with the gravity. Here goes!

1) Side Project Brewing, Anabasis Blend #5, Barleywine, MO, 14% alcohol by volume. Table 68.
We vote this brewery “most likely to kick first” at Savor. Grab a beer from another table and then get in line early for this whale-ish beer aged in whale-ish bourbon barrels. “For the 5th blend, Anabasis was put into oak on October 8th of 2018 where it rested in Blanton’s and Weller 12yr barrels. After 27 months, we chose a blend which consisted of 38.4% aged in Blanton’s and 61.6% aged in the Weller 12yr.” Woof.

2) The Lost Abbey, Peach Afternoon, Sour Ale, CA, 6%. Table 60.
Look, if Lost Abbey is bringing a sour, it’s going to be on this list. That’s just how it goes. “Peach Afternoon, our latest creation marries fresh Matsumoto Peaches, Peach Tea, and a barrel-aged blonde sour. The result being a complex Peach explosion, the tannins of the tea marrying with the tartness of the sour and the smoothness of the French oak create a blend we’re happy to have every afternoon at tea time.” A previous batch took silver at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival.

3) Cloudburst Brewing, Happy Little Clouds, American Pils, WA, 5.3%. Table 63.
This absolutely gorgeous beer sits somewhere between Germany and America thanks to hops from the latter. It took silver at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival and bronze earlier this year at the World Beer Cup. “This batch features Ahtanum hops along with a splash of Citra, on top of our standard GR Magnum, CZ Saaz, GR Mandarina varieties. What do we taste? Great Question! We get notes of orange marmalade, lemongrass, & jasmine.”

4) Odd Breed Wild Ales, Oddities and Outliers, Blend 2, Wild Ale, FL, 6.8%. Table 92.
When you think of breweries that only make spontaneously fermented beer, you think of Pompano Beach, right? We’ve heard nothing but good things about this brewery, and this beer won a GABF gold in 2021. “Blend 2 is comprised of 3 beers aged in French oak barrels: dry hopped wild ale aged for 16 months (48%), spontaneous beer aged 12 months (38%), and wild lager aged 36 months (14%). This layered beer delivers notes of fresh and grassy hops, honeydew melon, blueberry, and pineapple along a backdrop of cedar and rustic funk.” That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

5) Monday Night Brewing, M̶i̶d̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶D̶e̶l̶i̶g̶h̶t̶,̶ ̶W̶o̶o̶d̶-̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶B̶a̶r̶r̶e̶l̶-̶A̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶B̶e̶e̶r̶,̶ ̶G̶A̶,̶ ̶1̶1̶.̶5̶%̶.̶ ̶T̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶4̶1̶.̶
̶T̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶A̶t̶l̶a̶n̶t̶a̶ ̶b̶r̶e̶w̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶i̶m̶p̶r̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶2̶0̶1̶9̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶w̶e̶’̶r̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶c̶k̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶.̶ ̶“̶D̶a̶r̶k̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶o̶o̶n̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶,̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶1̶1̶.̶5̶%̶ ̶A̶B̶V̶ ̶i̶n̶d̶u̶l̶g̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶l̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶b̶o̶u̶r̶b̶o̶n̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶r̶e̶l̶-̶a̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶I̶m̶p̶e̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶M̶i̶l̶k̶ ̶S̶t̶o̶u̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶a̶p̶l̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶r̶e̶l̶-̶a̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶I̶m̶p̶e̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶B̶r̶o̶w̶n̶ ̶A̶l̶e̶.̶ ̶I̶n̶s̶p̶i̶r̶e̶d̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶a̶ ̶c̶a̶r̶a̶m̶e̶l̶ ̶w̶a̶l̶n̶u̶t̶ ̶b̶r̶o̶w̶n̶i̶e̶,̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶b̶r̶e̶w̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶c̶a̶r̶a̶m̶e̶l̶i̶z̶e̶d̶ ̶w̶a̶l̶n̶u̶t̶s̶,̶ ̶c̶a̶c̶a̶o̶ ̶n̶i̶b̶s̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶c̶o̶f̶f̶e̶e̶.̶”̶ ̶B̶a̶t̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶u̶p̶.̶ UPDATE: Black Rainbow, Imperial Stout, 13%. “This Neapolitan-inspired Imperial Milk Stout packs a three scoop wallop: creamy, bourbon-infused vanilla, rich Ghirardelli chocolate, and just a kiss of ripe strawberry. A product of our blended beer program at the Garage, this 13% ABV brew was aged in bourbon barrels for over eighteen months. A slight woodiness shines through on the nose; reminiscent of the baked brown sugar flavor flaunted by fresh waffle cones.”

The rest, in alphabetical order:

Alesong Brewing and Blending, Gose Anejo, Gose, OR, 7.7%. Table 26.
There’s an outside chance you can buy this beer in the area–check better beer shops in NoVA–but no matter, the people want what they want, and what they want is a beer that tastes kinda like a margarita. “For our third rendition of this mouthwatering beer, we’ve imitated a classic margarita by brewing this tart, gose-style ale with lime, sea salt and agave. We then aged it in Extra Añejo Tequila barrels to give it a touch of earthy, smoky depth, and finished it on lime and orange zest for bright citrus notes.”

Brew Gentlemen, General Braddock, Hazy IPA, PA,  6.8%. Table 84.
Wanna hear something odd? The overall Savor beer list is barely 10% IPA. We’re as shocked as you are. It wasn’t too long ago that at least a quarter of the beers would be hopped to the gills, but now there are as many imperial stouts and sours as there are IPAs, regardless of whether the latter category is session, regular strength, or double. This is the archetypical American hazy IPA. Pillowy soft, slightly sweet, with a dry finish. If you’re not into hops this just might make you a convert.

The Bruery, Portified Black Tuesday, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer, CA, 17.9%. Table 1.
It’s beer, it’s wine, it’s another year where Black Tuesday gets the grape treatment and we rave about it. Note that this beer is 3 years in the making, and is bottled still, with no carbonation. A nice way to end the night if it’s still around (which it won’t be).

COOP Ale Works, 10th Anniversary, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, OK, 10%. Table 42.
A dark sour ale brewed with cherries for their 10th anniversary, this beer was initially available only on-site, but now there’s enough to go around. We think this is a re-brew of the 2019 original. The bottle is impossibly cool-looking, too.

Fremont Brewing, Ye Olde Centaur, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer, WA, 10%. Table 35.
Fremont always brings a barrel-aged dark ale, and it always makes this list. Here we have a barleywine as opposed to a stout or winter warmer, but no matter. The details: “Maris Otter Pale, Triticale Munich, Crystal, Dark Crystal, and Cherrywood Smoked malts, with Northern Brewer hops,” and both Jack Daniels and Scotch barrels are involved. This beer was released in January 2021, it’s ready now.

Jackie O’s Brewery, Extended Family, Saison, OH, 5.7%. Table 53.
Alright, that was a lot of heat, let’s tone it down with a mixed-fermentation saison fermented with Riesling grapes and bottle conditioned with honey. It’s going to be ridiculously food-friendly. At one point you could mail-order this from the brewery to DC or VA with a two bottle per person limit. Now you can stand in The Anthem and drink as much of it as you want!

Missing Mountain Brewing Company, Phan F*ning Tasm, Hazy Double IPA, OH, 8.7%. Table 89.
This DIPA’s a keeper, with Nelson Sauvin, Topaz, and just a kiss of Simcoe in the dry hop, plus, as the name let’s you know, it’s brewed with a proprietary blend of sauvignon blanc grape must called Phantasm that unlocks extra flavor. How does that work? Biotransformation! What’s that mean? Ask them, then please write an article about it for this site. Please.

More Brewing Company, Henna: French Toast, Imperial Stout, IL, 14%. Table 91.
It’s brewed with cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla. More does a whole series of these pastry stouts, including babka and fluffernutter. They come highly regarded. Breakfast–or dessert–in a glass!

Perennial Artisan Ales, Echolocation, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, MO, 5.7%. Table 78.
Green glass is having a contrarian moment in beer, as a handful of producers are no longer trying to avoid “lightstruck” beer. The short of it is that darker glass protects the beer better from sunlight’s ultraviolet rays, and these brewers don’t mind a little skunking. Really. “Foeder aged saison brewed with German grown Pilsner malt and unmalted wheat. Initially fermented in stainless steel before being transferred into a large format foeder where it continued to age for 14 months with a blend of native yeast and bacteria, and commercially purchased Brett.” You cannot take a bottle outside and hold it up to the sun, not even for science.

Stoup Brewing, Mixtape Romeo Dry Hopped Pilsner, Italian Pils, WA, 5%. Table 3.
Please welcome our second Pils from Seattle, though this time the hops are from New Zealand. “We dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Riwaka for aromas of white grape and grapefruit. Load it up, press play and enjoy.” Thanks, we will.

Switchback Brewing Company, Hells Bent, Smoked Beer, VT, 5.1%. Table 72.
This Vermont brewery loves smoke, and we love smoke. Thus, we love Switchback. Strictly Platonic! They’ll have others that really dial up the flavor, but we think this is going to be well-balanced and we’ll be back for multiple pours. “This six week lagered Munich-style helles is balanced with the perfect amount of smoke to complement the classic maltiness and low bitterness of a helles.”

Urban Artifact, Astronaut Food: Blueberry, Experimental Beer, OH, 15%. Table 11.
Astronaut ice cream is vile. Just impossibly disappointing to 6-year old Jake. How could something that sounds so cool taste so… chalky? Dry? Boring? Thankfully Urban Artifact is here to cram as much freeze-dried fruit into a beer as humanly possible, and you are here to drink it.

Vista Brewing, Dark Skies, Dark Lager, TX, 4.9%. Table 23.
A schwartzbier that’s under 5% brewed with Texas well water? We’re in! “Dark Skies is a light-bodied black lager with hints of coffee and roasted marshmallow. Classic pilsner malt with the addition of midnight wheat malt, plus locally sourced pilsner yeast, imparts fruitcake and fresh dough flavors and aromas. Classic noble hops balance the flavors without bitterness.”

Wibby Brewing, Volksbier Vienna, Vienna Lager, CO, 5.5%. Table 81.
“But DC Beer, no one goes to a beer fest to drink Vie-…” Silence! Wibby’s lagers are excellent. This took gold at the 2021 GABF and two of the people involved in this list practically insist that you try it.

Wild East Brewing Co., Patience & Fortitude, Bohemian Pils, NY, 4.7%. Table 33.
This is a 12 Plato Czech-style pils. They also make a 10. You can buy both in DC and VA. Maybe even MD. Despite the regional availability, this flawless beer will be ready for you whenever. Drink it early before palate fatigue sets in. Drink it late when it’s time to mellow out and head home.

 

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