Once again, craft brewers from across the U.S. made their pilgrimage to the nation’s capital to celebrate SAVOR Beer Week D.C., enjoy the benchmark of beer and food events, and roll up their sleeves for a little old-fashioned politicking.

SAVOR Beer Week D.C. took over Washington for the week prior to and during SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, and it provided ample opportunity to sample beer from myriad craft brewers, local and well-traveled alike.

SAVOR 2011 sold out faster than ever, but even those without tickets enjoyed great beer and food events, ranging from “Crabs and Crafts” to beer brunches and burgers.

WashingtonD.C.’s craft beer scene is blossoming, with 17 brewers participating in more than 40 events during SAVOR Beer Week D.C.

SAVOR delivered 42 different pairing dishes and 144 different craft beers from 72 small and independent craft brewers. In addition to the 144 craft beer and food pairings, attendees were treated to a variety of artisan cheeses by American Cheese Society, including samples from Cypress Grove, Cowgirl Creamery, and Point Reyes.

Sushi rolls, chocolate truffles, and oysters on the half shell rounded out the offerings and gave attendees the opportunity to create their own pairings.

At the end of the night, attendees had the opportunity to bring a little bit of SAVOR home with them. Each received a bottle of “SAVOR Flowers,” the first annual SAVOR collaboration beer, brewed by Boston Beer Company and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The beer was brewed using rose water in place of regular water, along with a tincture of hibiscus, lavender, and jasmine flowers that was aged in Samuel Adams’ Barrel One (the whiskey barrel Sam Adams first used to make its barrel-aged Triple Bock in the early 1990s).

While D.C. beer enthusiasts enjoyed a relaxed week of beer exploration, most craft brewers in attendance went to work on Friday with a “Hill Climb” to meet their senators and representatives.

The Brewers Association (BA) is working to grow the House Small Brewers Caucus and to rally support for the Small BREW Act, which would recalibrate excise taxes for America’s small brewers. The BA relies on the community of more than 1,700 craft brewers to help educate members of Congress and staff about small brewers and their unique contributions both locally and nationally. Friday’s event was a success, with 39 brewery owners and 19 state guild leaders visiting offices in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

“We were pleased to have 39 small brewers on Capitol Hill Friday to tell their small business stories and express their appreciation of Congressional representatives’ support,” says Charlie Papazian, Brewers Association president. “It’s not enough to just make great beer.

“The story of small business success by today’s 1,700+ American small brewing companies is a fascinating chapter in America’s economic comeback. People, quality, and main street community involvement have been the themes of small brewers’ success.”

Beverage, Industry News, NextGen Casual