Move over wine, here comes craft beer. Savor is America’s first modern national event aiming to elevate beer to a seat at the grown-ups table of high cuisine.
For as long as anyone can remember, beer has been the pedestrian beverage that knows its place: the bar, the barbecue grill, and the front porch after cutting the lawn. Meanwhile, we reach for the wallet and the wine bottle when it comes to toasting high occasions: the hot date, weddings, anniversaries, and fine dining.
The Brewer’s Association is launching Savor with the ambitious and admirable goal of raising public awareness of beer’s complexity, versatility and appropriateness alongside the most haute of cuisines.
Beer has a number of characteristics that make it a desirable choice for the linen-draped table. Beer has a far wider range of flavors than wine due in part to the fact that more and more variable ingredients are employed in its production. It is also far cheaper, on average, than wine and therefore can be more economically matched with each course in a meal. Wine, on the other hand, is expensive and discourages diners from pairing an appropriate bottle or glass with each course which means at best one course will be well-paired while the others might clash distastefully. Beer is also a bit more approachable while wine has an ingrained culture of snobbery (despite some laudable attempts to change this).
Savor will bring together fifty of America’s finest craft brewers and offer attendees a food pairing specifically chosen to match their beers. And I do mean fifty craft brewers – unlike many great beer festivals, Savor will not be staffed by volunteers but instead the brewers booths will be tended exclusively by brewers and brewery owners. This is not meant as a slight to volunteers. In fact, there will be volunteers helping with certain logistics, but the intention is to allow direct face-to-face experiences between attendees and the highly skilled and knowledgeable experts responsible for crafting the selections.
In addition to the food and beer pairings, there will be talks and presentations from some of America’s foremost beer and food experts, including a lively debate between Sam Calagione and Marnie old entitled “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” after their new book by the same name. Savor is an event not to be missed. My partner Seung and I will be there during the Saturday evening session. Get your tickets now before they sell out.
SAVOR: AN AMERICAN CRAFT BEER & FOOD EXPERIENCE
WHAT: Fine beer and food pairing event
WHEN: Friday-Saturday, May 16-17, 2008
WHERE: W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
COST: $85 all inclusive