Savor: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience is a sophisticated beer festival that takes place each year at Washington, D.C.’s National Building Museum. Now in its 11th year, Savor, organized by the Brewers Association, will bring 90 breweries, 181 beers, and a small plate pairing for every beer to D.C. the weekend of June 1-2, 2018. (Tickets are on sale now).
The Washington Post called Savor the “gold standard of beer festivals in Washington, and one of the most important beer festivals in America.” From the epic venue, to the excellent food pairings, to the brewers personally pouring each beer, Savor is a truly unique operation.
Still not convinced? We asked nine brewers what makes Savor the best.
(Note: Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.)
Why Every Craft Beer Lover Should Attend Savor 2018
“SAVOR really elevates craft beer to its rightful place at the table. Unlike many craft beer festivals, food has a more prominent role at SAVOR and expands drinkers’ views of how craft beer and food can complement each other, especially in more of a fine dining type of experience. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I love pairing beer with food because the possibilities are endless with so many flavor combinations. SAVOR really showcases that through unique and unexpected food and beer pairings.” – Jennifer Glanville, brewery manager, Boston Beer Co.
“Beer is liquid food, and SAVOR is the event that celebrates the perfect marriage of world-class food paired with world-class beer in a world-class setting. One of the coolest components of SAVOR is, at every booth, the folks pouring the beers you love are the people responsible for creating them — the brewmasters and owners of the brands that represent the best of America’s vibrant indie craft brewing renaissance. And as a beer lover going to festivals when Dogfish opened in the mid-’90s, it meant the world to me to share beer talk over sips with the pioneers who inspired me, like Ken Grossman [founder of Sierra Nevada], Carol Stoudt [founder and brewmaster, Stoudt’s Brewing], and Jim Koch [co-founder and chairman, Boston Beer].” – Sam Calagione, owner and founder, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
“I love that SAVOR shows craft beer in a more formal way with greater connection to the culinary world. It’s the prom of beer experiences! Since tickets are very limited, I have more opportunities to have conversations about how the beer was made, or how I think the food pairs with the beer, which is unique in a festival-style environment. Washington D.C. is an amazing city, and the Building Museum is a beautiful building that sets the top end of what a beer festival can be. The setting is certainly part of what makes SAVOR such an elegant beer experience.” – Patrick Rue, owner and founder, The Bruery
“SAVOR attendees represent the best of our craft beer audience, in my opinion, as they are knowledgeable, experienced and discerning. Fortunately, the event is designed such that you can take full advantage of their educated insights by simply initiating and enjoying the natural conversations on our favorite subject, craft beer. […] I especially appreciate how dishes are paired with multiple beers so you can really wrap your tongue and head around each flavor interaction.” – Bill Covaleski, co-founder and brewmaster, Victory Brewing
“There is nothing more profound than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. […] And I have found all of these at SAVOR. As breweries, we’re constantly being asked to support events and promote our beer. Many of these feel like work. SAVOR has always felt different. It’s like our liquid creations are the stars at an amazing black-tie reception. When I step into the room at SAVOR, I am instantly transported to a world that is elevated by the people, the beer, and the food working in harmony.” – Tomme Arthur, co-founder and director of brewery operations, The Lost Abbey
“As far as beer festivals go, SAVOR is in a league of its own. There is no better expression of beer than in careful and intentional marriage with food. Food makes beer a better person, and beer completes food. The National Building Museum is the perfect host for the beautiful dance of world-class chefs, award-winning and innovative beer, and the precise pairing of food. SAVOR is truly the can’t-miss event of the beer year.” – Mike Lawinski, owner and founder, FATE Brewing Co.
“We look forward to SAVOR each year. What I love about this event is that beer drinkers get a snapshot of what craft beer looks like across the United States. Each year, we get to see new and emerging beer styles and see what is new from around the country, as well as reconnecting with many industry friends. The National Building Museum is a beautiful, historic building that makes SAVOR even more special. It is a grand space, and even when SAVOR is sold out, it never feels too crowded to enjoy the evening. We love welcoming brewers and chefs to D.C.!” – Bill Butcher, owner and founder, Port City Brewing Company
“To me, SAVOR is the premier craft beer and food event. So many different pairings challenge the palate and the mind about how beer and food can fit together. Chef Adam [Dulye, executive chef of the Brewers Association] and his team are never afraid to take risks, and I love to experience it. The diversity and wide array of the food and beer selections under one roof are pretty epic. Plus, the breweries are all independent and I love being in the room with our craft family! Huge vaulted ceilings, dramatic lighting, massive columns and a beautifully decorated space all lend to the gravity of the event. It’s a special place for sure, one I look forward to attending every year even if we’re not participating as a brewer.” – Garrett W. Marrero, owner and founder, Maui Brewing Co.
“The atmosphere is very intimate at SAVOR. It’s a very comfortable setting to have a chat with beer lovers. There really isn’t another beer and food pairing event of this scale with a backdrop as unique as the National Building Museum. The pairings are absolutely one of the highlights of SAVOR. [It] seems like the chefs are always able to discover elements in the beers that may not be initially obvious, then complement or contrast these elements with a unique pairing. SAVOR is always an evening of discovery.” – Rob Tod, owner and founder, Allagash Brewing Co.