I came, I saw, I SAVORed. To me, SAVOR provides two great opportunities: one, to meet the people behind some of the best craft beers in the country, and two, to experience how craft beer can be enhanced by the addition of food.
The SAVOR Specifics
SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience took place at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on June 8 and 9, and offered 4,000 craft beer enthusiasts the opportunity to to sample beers from 74 breweries. Those breweries’ beers were paired with sweet and savory appetizers from a tailor-made menu designed by Chef Adam Dulye, chef/owner at San Francisco’s The Monk’s Kettle and The Abbot’s Cellar.
SAVOR Standout Pairings
I set out in search of ethereal pairings, the type of combinations that are hard to find but that elevate both beer and food. It’s these types of pairings that make SAVOR more than just another tasting event, but a true experience. Here are 10 of my favorite combinations that embodied the purpose of SAVOR and the beer and food pairing crusade.
- Abita Brewing Company | Abita Springs, Louisiana
Restoration Pale Ale paired with blue crab and Louisiana crawfish cake, red pepper rouille.
- American Brewing Company | Edmonds, Washington
Caboose Oatmeal Stout paired with coconut macaroon, whipped crème fraîche and lemon zest.
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc. | Kalamazoo, Michigan
Smoked Vienna Lager paired with duck confit taco, queso fresco, pickled cherry.
- Boulevard Brewing Company | Kansas City, Missouri
Tank 7 Farmhouse Style Ale paired with chevre crostini, fennel and blood orange marmalade.
- Denver Beer Co. | Denver, Colorado
Kaffir Lime Wheat Beer paired with pickled Hawaiian tombo, radish and preserved lemon.
- Moon River Brewing Company | Savannah, Georgia
Rosemary Swamp Fox (herb and spice beer) paired with lamb meatballs, tomato sauce and shaved ricotta.
- Mother Earth Brewing | Kinston, North Carolina
Double Wit Blackberry with huckleberry and meyer lemon crème puff.
- Short’s Brewing Company | Bellaire, Michigan
Good Samaritan (amber ale) with roasted beet and chevre tartlet, sherry gastrique.
- Summit Brewing | St. Paul, Minnesota
Saga IPA with burrata on toast paired with arugula pesto and lemon zest.
- Willimantic Brewing Company | Willimantic, Connecticut
Flowers Infusion (saison) paired with rhubarb crisp and lavender honey.
The Pairing Process
The appetizers were planned only after this year’s final beers were selected, at which point a group of chefs and Cicerones® were assembled to help Dulye create a flavor profile for the overall menu, which consisted of 42 items and 149 food pairings.
Chef Dulye even shared 10 of this year’s recipes to help both craft beer enthusiasts and foodies recreate some of the pairings at home.
- Pork belly mole, pumpkin seeds and orange zest
- Maine lobster pot sticker, pickled pepper and green garlic relish
- Lamb meatballs, tomato sauce and shaved ricotta
- Rhubarb crisp and lavender honey
- Butterscotch cheesecake
- Coconut macaroon, whipped crème fraîche and lemon zest
- Fava bean tapenade ricotta salata and cracker crisp
- Roasted corn and grilled peach salad with brioche
- Woodruffed bacon wrapped dates
- Heirloom tomato and cornbread cobbler
SAVOR Educational Salons
SAVOR also featured Educational Salons that were chock full of fun information about pairing craft beer and food. Recordings of these salons can be found in the Craft Beer Seminars section of CraftBeer.com.
Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer pairings, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on CraftBeer.com.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012