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Beer: Post-holiday happenings and a week to SAVOR

Tickets for SAVOR, the annual beer and food festival scheduled for the National Building Museum on June 5 have been sold out since February. In fact, all 1,750 were snapped up within 10 minutes of going on sale on Feb. 24.

Almost all. The Food section has obtained two of the coveted passes, and will award them to a lucky few at the end of Wednesday’s Free Range chat from 1 to 2 p.m.

Alternatively, you can drop by the Elephant and Castle at 19th and I streets NW on Wednesday. Heavy Seas Beers in Baltimore and, a beer locator, will be raffling off one SAVOR ticket plus a ticket to one of the educational “salons” accompanying SAVOR. Anyone who orders a Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale between 6 and 9 p.m. will receive one raffle ticket per beer. (As an added incentive, pints of Loose Cannon are $1 off.)

You can also enter the drawing by linking to the Heavy Seas fan page; just hit the green “become a fan” button.

Persistence pays off. Ask Mike McCarthy, director of brewery operations for the Washington area’s Capitol City Brewing Co. chain. Cap City lost the lottery that the Brewers Association (BA) held to determine which breweries would be represented at SAVOR. “It’s a major national event in our backyard. We weren’t happy,” says McCarthy.

Cap City made several phone calls to the BA to see whether it could somehow sneak in through the back door. At last, when one of the lottery winners dropped out in March, the BA gave Cap City first dibs on the empty spot. 

Each of the 70 participating breweries is allowed to bring two beers. Cap City will pour its mainstay Pale Rider Ale and Fuel, a coffee-infused imperial stout. McCarthy recommends pairing the latter with a salted dark chocolate caramel truffle, one of several dozen hors d’oeuvres that Federal City Caterers is preparing for the event. In addition, Fuel should be pouring at all Cap City branches during the week. 

The week following Memorial Day has become an unofficial D.C. Beer Week. A few highlights:

The Washington Wine and Cheese Society is holding its biannual beer tasting at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. This fun, informal gathering will feature nine beers (including some big brews from the likes of Dogfish Head, Stone and Clipper City), plenty of snacks and bottles for sale (if any are left over) afterward. Show up early; the event is capped at 96 people. Cost: $20; 4700 Whitehaven Pkwy. NW.

ChurchKey in Logan Circle will spend a few days tapping rare drafts, handing out glassware and hosting out-of-town brewers. On Wednesday, Anchor Brewing Co. CEO John Dannerbeck will drop by for the Washington launch of Humming Ale, a pale ale brewed with New Zealand’s unusual Nelson Sauvin hop. On Friday, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman is special guest for a tapping of some Sierra Nevada rarities, including Hellraiser Imperial Stout (infused with cocoa and chili peppers) and the brewery’s new 30th-anniversary beer, Charlie, Fred and Ken’s Imperial Helles Lager.

Thor Cheston of Brasserie Beck on K Street reports that he’s “super-duper psyched” for a four-course dinner Thursday's celebration of Bruery beers from Placentia, Calif., and founder Patrick Rue. Act fast; only 25 seats are being sold. Cost: $85. For reservations call 202-408-1717.

The Brickskeller ( is hosting events each night from Wednesday through Friday. The “Lupulin Reunuless” all-star brewers’ revue on Friday is sold out, and the Three Floyds tasting on Wednesday was filling up quickly. Your best bet might be the Odell Brewing Co. tasting on Thursday. Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo., is overshadowed by its large neighbor New Belgium Brewing Co., but makes an equally interesting spectrum of beers. Owner/brewmaster Doug Odell and brewery spokesperson Amanda Johnson will offer eight beers including the Scottish ale 90 Shilling, India Barleywine (an immensely malty and hoppy brew) and Woodcut #3, a red ale aged in oak. Cost: $30. Order tickets online at

On Friday, meet Alan Newman, founder of Vermont's Magic Hat Brewing Co., at Policy at 1904 14th Street NW from 5 to 8 p.m. The draft list will include Magic Hat's latest Odd Notion beer, Wild Ginger Ale, plus the aptly named Wacko, a light summer ale spiked with beet sugar for a brilliant red hue. The appetizers are free; you pay $5 for the beer and get a free glass and $2 refills. Go to

The party doesn’t stop with SAVOR. The next evening, Sunday, the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan hosts “All ‘Ale the Ladies: Women of Beer Meet and Greet” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Clink glasses with Ellie Tupper of Tuppers’ Hop Pocket fame; Rogue Ales sales rep Sebbie Buehler; blogger Carolyn “Beer Fox” Smagalski; Julia Herz of the Brewers Association; and Black Squirrel bar manager Hollie Stephenson, who will soon become the Black Squirrel’s brewer at a mini-brewery the bar is opening in a warehouse in the District's Brookland neighborhood. The event will include free hors d’oeuvres (brownies with Rogue Chocolate Stout topping, anyone?), a special beer list and door prizes, RSVP here.

Event sold out? Can’t make these? For additional happenings, check out this calendar and click on June.

You don’t have to confine yourself to the Washington area. In Richmond, the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival will unfold on Saturday at the Richmond Raceway Complex from 2 to 6 p.m., featuring 60 beers, 40 bourbons, live music and a Best Beer Belly contest. (The organizers are holding a similar festival at National Harbor, Md. on June 18-19.) Check out

Finally, a short Amtrak ride away, Philly Beer Week kicks off Friday. The 10-day celebration of barley and hops, the last time we looked, featured 914 events at 187 venues, including meet-and-greets, beer dinners and full-blown festivals.

-- Greg Kitsock

By The Food Section  |  May 28, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Beer  | Tags: Greg Kitsock, SAVOR, beer  
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Well.... There is still time to enjoy the Annual Czech Beer Festival in Prague until May 30th....

Posted by: pdlane1 | May 29, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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