Once again, the Brewers Association presented its Savor craft beer and food pairing showcase where 86 craft breweries showcased 172 beers at Washington, D.C.’s National Building Museum. Savor 2017 was a milestone event, as it marked the 10th annual edition of the food-and-brew-centric festival. We won’t be able to get to all 172 of the offerings, but here are a few highlights.
4.5% ABV | The Saint Louis Brewery, makers of the Schlafly line, create this riff on a classic Leipzig gose—brewed with sea salt, coriander, and, of course, gooseberries. The berries accentuate a sharp tartness, somewhere between a pineapple and a grapefruit. The nose is all green apple. It’s an approachable variation on a style that’s gaining greater appreciation stateside.
5.1% ABV | Rauchbier (smoked beer) is one of those styles that people either love or hate, depending on their tolerance for smoke. But Ann Arbor, Michigan–based Wolverine State Brewing seems to have created a less-polarizing version that appeals to a broader range of palates. Where many rauchbiers can taste and smell like mesquite-smoked bacon, this one has more of a baked ham vibe.
10.5% ABV | Sacramento, California’s Track 7 offers a maple pecan brown ale that’s a lot less sweet than one would expect, especially when its key elements are nuts and maple. What it does offer are intense notes of dark toast and some surprising bitterness.
7.2% ABV | La Cuvée Concorde (The Harmony Blend) is a saison that combines select barrels produced by Vista, California’s Toolbox. This particular iteration sports a wild nose courtesy of three different species of Brettanomyces, as well as a bit of lactobacillus microflora. The blend of wine barrel–aged saisons is quite tart, with pronounced notes of sour fruit on the finish.
5.4% ABV | And now for a bit of a palate cleanser: Brooklyn, New York’s Sixpoint’s The Crisp is a no-nonsense pilsner with an aroma that alternates between floral and biscuit-y. The finish is dry and crisp, with some pleasantly protracted bitterness.
7.5% ABV | Saint James Brewery uses plums grown close to its Holbrook, New York, headquarters for this Belgian-inspired brew. The nose is strikingly candy-like, reminiscent of Smartees or Necco Wafers. The flavor is predictably fruity, but never cloying. Even those generally averse to fruit beers may find themselves drawn to this one.
9% ABV | It’s fitting that Dispensary comes from a brewery whose name is as straightforward as can be. No flashy bells and whistles with this one from Austin’s Hops & Grain; it’s exactly how you’d expect an Imperial IPA to taste. The hoppy elements take turns being juicy and bitter, while the discernible malt character offers a touch of sweetness.
4.3% ABV | If “breakfast beer” were a judging category, this one from Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Dialogue Brewing would be a perpetual gold winner. It has a limeade-like tartness that makes it nothing short of pure refreshment. It also happens to be a solid representation of the unadulterated Berliner Weisse style.