Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. elaborates during his salon.
Jim Koch, the founder and brewer of the Boston Beer Co., led a room full of beer aficionados through describing the flavor notes in a batch of Sam Adams Triple Bock from 1994.
“It’s a beer that’s almost old enough to drink itself,” Koch quipped as he likened the taste of the sugary, complex beer to a port.
Koch regaled the audience with tales of his rare beers, including how the Triple Bock (which evolved into Sam Adams Utopia) became the first beer to break 14 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) due to an epiphany he had in a Home Depot. Basically, he thought, if the companies responsible for bourbon barrels were releasing the used barrels to garden stores for use as planters, why could his brewery not purchase them and use them for aging beer?
Previously, many brewers thought combining techniques for beer and liquor would prove to be illegal in the United States. But a quick trip to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in D.C. paved the way for that to happen, and a brewing revolution began.
SAVOR 2011. Photo courtesy of the Brewers Association. Photo credit: Eddie Arrossi.
Greetings from the morning treadmill, where I get to recover from the decadence that was this weekend’s “SAVOR – American Craft Beer & Food Experience” event. With 144 different brews from 72 craft breweries, the extravaganza put smiles on 2,000 very happy visitors to the spaciously inviting National Building Museum in downtown Washington, DC on June 3 & 4, 2011.
Each of the star-spangled craft brews – from pilsner to stout, singles to quads – were paired with a delectable selection of culinary creations to complement each work of liquid art. The food pairings on Friday night were succulent enough to almost steal the show (strangely, Saturday’s food wasn’t as well done and disappeared early), but undoubtedly the stars of the night shined brightly in their gently swirled tasting glasses.
Some guests performed some advance research, like Brian from Washington. In addition to a checklist of his previous favorites, he came prepared with a list of must try selections, especially a host of India Pale Ales. “I checked a few local blogs and went to a few of the brewer sites,” he said. Amanda from Ballston also visited some of the brewery web sites when she bought her ticket, “but it was a long time ago, and the actual beers weren’t known then, so it was like a surprise tonight.” My bet is that most guests were like Shawn from Bethesda, who was “just here for a great time!”
Fortunately, for the first time, this year’s 4th annual event added a second night to create even more first impressions. Unfortunately, the over 1,700 gallons of brews on display could only be sampled with an advance purchase ticket – offered months ago. No wonder the event sold out in less than a day! Before heading out the door, I signed up for the mailing list to be notified of advance sales for next year’s event. I’d suggest the same for you.
Some of my observations (with some actual quotes heard around the venue):
“This pilsner tastes nothing like Miller Lite, Toto.”
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’
The buzz inside the National Building Museum Saturday night was near deafening. Glasses clanked, people’s discussions echoed through the great hall, and music floated through the air. From jeans and tee shirts to high heels and cocktail dresses, the crowd at the American Craft Beer & Food Experience known as Savor was in full swing when I arrived around 8 p.m.
With 136 craft beers from 68 breweries, plus food pairings, I have to admit, it was a bit overwhelming. But in the best possible sense of the word. Continue reading