Experiencing the Beer and Food of SAVOR!

Photo © Eddie Arrossi

Richmond’s World Beer Festival may have been canceled but that will not stop me exploring the ever expanding world of craft beer.  Saturday June 4th marked the second day of SAVOR, Washington, D.C.’s premier craft beer and food event. Tickets for this event sold out in a matter of minutes after going on sale.

Now in it’s fourth year, Brewers Association has expanded SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience to two nights inside the beautiful National Building Museum.   The effect of SAVOR on DC’s craft beer scene has been even more outstanding.  The number of restaurants and bars championing craft beer has almost tripled since Savor’s inception.

But why should SAVOR be important to craft beer lovers in Richmond?  Simply put, it is the possibility of new beers in the market that were previously unavailable locally.  Before I go on, let me explain a little about how breweries are selected to attend Savor.  In total, there were 72 breweries in attendance, 12 of which are supporting breweries who  attend every year.  The other 60 breweries are selected by a lottery system. Even though it is the luck of the draw, the breweries selected deserve the honor they have just received. Nothing proves this more to me than the fact two of my favorite North Carolina breweries, Big Boss Brewing and LoneRider Brewing, were in attendance for the first time.

The Wednesday prior to Savor, Big Boss took over the taps of Birch & Barley, serving their entire beer line-up.  At SAVOR, Big Boss was serving their two heavy hitters Monkey Bizzness and High Roller. With High Roller, Big Boss has managed to create an India Pale Ale that has the required bitterness and hoppy aroma but not overpowering at the same time.

Meanwhile, LoneRider brought in my two of my favorites of their beers. Their hefeweizen, Shotgun Betty, was a no brainer to pair with banana bread.  LoneRider had their brown ale, Sweet Josie, on hand. Once again, I was seduced by this beer. I was not too sure on the pairing of this beer with the Shrimp in  a Blanket dish. Personally, I thought it also went well with the banana bread.

Another first timer this year was Mad Fox Brewing out of Falls Church, VA.  Now here is a true cinderella story;  Mad Fox has only been opened for little over a year.  The owner rightful beamed with pride as he poured me some of his Kolsch Ale.  From the aroma to the taste of a two ounce pour, you could tell this was a beer made by a guy who truly loves what he does and is good at it. Expect very big things to come out of Mad Fox.

Here are some other highlights from my night.

Lazy Magnolia Brewing had their Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale rightfully paired with banana bread.  Their Indian Summer was equally as tasty.

Fort George Brewery’s 1811 Lager was very smooth and refreshing.

DOG Brewing had a Pub Dog Wild Cherry Porter has a tartness that will win over sour beer lovers.

Ommegang’s Three Philosophers was excellently paired with a braised lamb shoulder slider.

Bayou Teche Brewing’s La 31 Boucanee had a unique smokiness that is uncommon in wheat beers.  This beer would be perfect a hot summer barbecue.

Of course, I could not end without mentioning SAVOR Flowers.  This collaboration beer brewed by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company was a shoe-in to be the most talked about beer of the night.  It is almost a shame that this beer will not be seen out side of Savor.  When I first heard about the beer and the steps they went to, one of my first thoughts was how many roses do I need to make rose water to brew a batch at home.  Yes, you heard correctly; they created their own rose water just to make a batch of beer.  Add in some experimental hops and age in barrels originally used for Sam Adams Triple Bock in 1993/94, you get an unique beer with the most pleasing floral aromas and a flavors that leave you in a sense of euphoria.  It is collaborations like this that will keep SAVOR going strong for years to come. I will keep a look out for when tickets go on sale for next year so maybe you can be a part of the experience. Cheers!


Photo © Eddie Arrossi

World Beer Festival Richmond CANCELLED

It is with great disappointment that I relay the news that All About Beer Magazine has cancelled the World Beer Festival that was scheduled for June 18th on Brown’s Island.  This is an unexpected blow to the Richmond beer community that will be heartbreaking to many beer lovers such as myself.  Before I drone on, let’s hear from publisher Daniel Bradford on the WHY:

May 20, 2011

Greetings:

It is with deepest regret that we must announce the cancellation of the World Beer Festival – Richmond 2011.

We enjoyed an excellent response from the Richmond beer community to last summer’s inaugural event. As we prepared for this year’s festival, we were excited about the public response, including both ticket pre-sales and volunteer recruitment. However, we have struggled with the regulatory requirements and trade practices in executing our festival model in Richmond.  Furthermore, internal company issues inhibited our ability to get ahead of these challenges and respond in a supportive partner fashion.

We concluded we could not create the type of beer tasting experience that would meet our standards, a reputation for quality beer tasting events that we have nurtured since 1996.  We would not have fulfilled our commitment to our customers or to the industry we have served for three decades.

We remain committed to the Richmond beer market – beer lovers, beer retailers, beer wholesalers and brewers – offering our assistance and support for any and all quality beer events that spread the word about good beer.  Perhaps in the future we will be able to overcome the challenges and the World Beer Festival will return to Richmond.

Again, we are deeply sorry about not being able to execute our event and any unfulfilled expectations that this may cause.  We are contacting all advanced sale ticket holders to offer refunds or exchanges for our World Beer Festival – Durham, World Beer Festival – Raleigh or World Beer Festival–Columbia.

Cheers,

Daniel Bradford

President

Now that you have digested that, a few comments.  I do not know about the “regulatory requirements and trade practices” that made it difficult to execute their festival model but I wonder where our local government was in all of this.  Here was a beer festival that encouraged responsible drinking by limiting sample sizes to 2 oz.  Did our local officials see the one price tag as too different from other beer festivals to find a place in this town?  Think of all the work that has been done to turn Richmond into a travel destination.  Now think of the effect losing this festival will mean for the future. Do not be naive in thinking people to not travel for beer.  People do and they would have come here.

Yes, I know it is not all our governments fault. Part of the blame lies with All About Beer Magazine itself and I know they know that.  I only have a few comments for them. First of all, thank you for bringing what in my humble opinion was the best beer festival Richmond has ever seen last year.  While I am disappointed that there will be no festival this year, I trust you will live up to your promise  to “remain committed” in the hopes that “the World Beer Festival will return to Richmond.”

Richmond beer lovers go to All About Beer Magazine’s website and thank them for last year’s festival and ask them to come back soon.

Add Some Flavor to Your Weekend

Flavor – Beer, Wine, & Food Festival, a new addition in Richmond’s heavy festival season, will be held on Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd from 11am to 6pm at the Innsbrook SnagAJob Pavilion. Now, I have not heard of most of the restaurants listed to be a the event but standouts like Halligan’s, Boka, and Ginger Thai Taste are sure to please. The festival promises a variety of wine and beer.  Trying  the beers from Pyramid, Anchor, Epic, Duck Rabbit, Thomas Creek, or Highland Breweries would be a nice way to close out our celebration of American Craft Beer Week.

Restaurants

  • India K’ Raja
  • Finn Mc Cools Irish Pub
  • Gregory’s Grill
  • Daylight Donuts
  • Big Daddy’s Barbecue
  • Slice of Grace Bakery Boutique
  • Roma Ristorante Italiano
  • The Halligan Bar and Grill
  • C’est Le Vin Art & Wine Gallery
  • Boka Truck
  • DeFazio’s Catering
  • Ginger Thai Taste
  • Spice Rack
  • Malabar Indian Cuisine
  • Italian Kitchen West
  • Goatocado
  • Hunan Café
  • Joey’s Hot Dogs
  • Capital Ale House
  • Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant
  • Extreme Pizza

Innsbrook SnagAJob Pavilion

4901 Lakebrook Drive
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
(Map)

Beer Blasts in 140 Characters or Less…

Today, I have added a new feature to the blog, Beer Blasts, the official Twitter feed of Richmond Beermeister. Beer Blasts will include the most recent tweets and random thoughts that come to my mind.  I will send blasts when I get information that you need right away.  To get blasts sent to you follow Richmond Beermeister on Twitter here.

RVA Early to American Craft Beer Week Party

American Craft Beer Week officially starts on May 16 and runs until May 22.  Richmond will start the party early Friday with a Starr Hill tasting at Once Upon a Vine South and a Sunday night beer dinner at Six Burner.  Here are more details on some events to consider checking out.

Tastings

There will be several tastings you can attend throughout the week.

Monday, May 16th 4 – 7 pm

Mega Tasting 

Once Upon a Vine South

2817 Hathaway Road
Richmond, VA 23225
(804) 864-9463

In addition to their weekly beer tasting featuring Starr Hill Friday night, Once Upon a Vine South will hold a Mega Tasting Monday night.  This is an event not to be missed. I was at the Mega Tasting Once Upon a Vine had during Richmond Beer Week last year.  This is an event not to be missed.  Here is the selection of breweries so far:

Oregon’s Caldera

Pennsylvania’s Troegs

California’s North Coast  and 21st Amendment

Massachusetts’ Sam Adams

Michigan’s Bells

Utah’s Unita

There is also the possibility of having  RJ Rockers from South Carolina and Laughing Dog from Idaho.

Wednesday, May 18th 6 PM

Beer Theater XVIII: Anchor Brewing Company
Wine & Beer Westpark
9631 W Broad Street WestPark Shopping Center
Glen Allen, VA 23060
804-965-9100

Want to talk to the actual brewer while you taste his beers, then join Matty Lake for a very special Beer Theater featuring Mark Carpenter of Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. They will do a tasting through the entire Anchor line and you will be able to chat with Mark over Skype to ask.  This is your chance to have your questions answered by the people directly responsible for making the beer you will be tasting.

Parties

There are a variety of drinking parties to choose from all week long.  Starting off Monday night, there will be a Firkin Pub Crawl organized by Commerical Taphouse, Secco Wine Bar, and Joe’s Inn. Tuesday is Steal the Glass night at all locations of Capital Ale House; this week’s featureed brewery is Kansas’ Tallgrass Brewing.  Thursday night, Mekong will be having “More Fun than a Barrel of Virginians.” They will be tapping several barrel-aged Virginia beers along with a special guest from Maryland.

Special Guest: Heavy Seas Loose Cannon oak cask

Legend Quad firkin finished with oak
Starr Hill Bourbon Barrel Cryptical Imperial Stout
Mad Fox Barley Wine- Catoctin Creek Barrels
Blue Mountain Dark Hollow
Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Amber Ale

Joe Gold and Jonathan McIntire from Heavy Seas will be on hand as well as representatives/brewers from Starr Hill and Legend.

Beer Dinners

There are at least three beer dinners I could find happening this week, all of which sound very tempting.

Sunday May 15th 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Southern Tier Beer Dinner

Six Burner Restaurant

1627 West Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220-4632
(804) 353-4060

I had the opportunity of eating at Six Burner the first time during Restaurant Week just this past April.  The food was outstanding and I really hope I can make this dinner.  Take a look at the menu below.

MENU

Reception
2X IPA

Green Tomato Gazpacho, Clams
Raspberry Wheat

Sausagecraft Corndog, Peanuts, Mustard
Phin & Matts Extraordinary Ale

48 Hour Short Ribs, Green Bean Casserole, Crispy Tobacco Onions
Porter

Coffee & Donuts
Jahva Stout

Wednesday, May 18th  6:00 p.m.

Whole Foods Short Pump

Virginia Founding Fathers Beer Dinner

Whole Foods will pay homage to Virginia’s heritage with a four course sit-down dinner fit for a President! Each course will be paired with Virginia’s finest brews! Enjoy guest speakers from each brewery showcased. $35 per person. Pre-pay at customer service before 12:00 p.m. on 5/18 to reserve your spot!

1st course: Welsh Rarebit paired with Williamsburg Alewerks Dry Hopped Pale.

2nd course: Virginia Baked Ham & Sweet Spoon Bread paired with Starr Hill Brewery Monticello Reserve Ale.

3rd course: Beef Pasty & Potatoes paired with Legend Quadruple

4th course: Chocolate Bread Pudding paired with St. George Porter

*Vegetarian, shellfish and pork free options available with RSVP by May 17th.

Friday May 20th 6:00 PM

Oskar Blues Beer Dinner with Screens ‘n’ Suds and Illbrain Jazz Duo

 TJ’s at The Jefferson

101 West Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 649-4672

$55/person (Music afterwards is free):

Head to The Jefferson on Friday, May 20th as Screens & Suds, TJ’s Restaurant, and Brown Distribution present a beer dinner charity event for the ages! They will be supporting the Central Virginia MS Society Chapter and The Faison School. Oskar Blues is a brewery located in Colorado that specializes in canning delicious brews.  Delicious food, drink and music! IllBrain Jazz Duo will be playing before (6-7pm) and after the dinner (10pm-12am for the general public); beer inspired screen prints will be on display and available for purchase!

Don’t miss this opportunity for great fun at TJ’s at The Jefferson; call Jonathan Kibiloski at 804.649.4672 or email at jonathan.kibiloski@jeffersonhotel.com for reservations.  Be sure to let Jonathan or the hostess know you are with the Richmond Beer Lovers.

Executive Chef James Schroeder’s Menu

Eggs “Benedict”
Butter Poached Farm Egg, House Cured Bacon, Frisee, Fried Green Tomato, Sauce Choron
Beer Pairing: Mama’s Little Yellow Pils

Pan Seared Quail
Roasted Eggplant Purée, Globe Artichokes, Piquillo Peppers, Baby Corn, Tarragon Beurre Blanc &Trio of Hops
Beer Pairing: Gubna, One Hit Wonder, G’Knight

White Wine and Lemon Braised Pork Cheeks
Carolina Gold Rice, Manakintowne Braising Greens with Natural Jus
Beer Pairing: Old Chub Scotch Ale
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy “Tiramisu”
“Ten Fidy” Ice Cream, Espresso Anglaise
Beer Pairing: Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

$55 per person, $5 going to MS Society & Faison School


World Beer Festival Richmond Tickets Available Today

 All About Beer Magazine’s second World Beer Festival in Richmond will be at Brown’s Island on Saturday June 18, 2011 with the proceeds benefiting FETCH a Cure once again this year.  Starting today you can buy your tickets online here or at Mekong or any of the three Capital Ale House locations.  There are two  sessions to choose from 12 – 4PM and 6 – 10PM. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $75 for VIP. VIP ticket buyers obtain access to a separate hospitality area with a restroom trailer, extra special beers in addition to those served at the brewers’ tables, a buffet dinner, and a World Beer Festival commemorative glass.

World Beer Festival Rockets back to Richmond

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!  For all of you All About Beer Magazine subscribers, today is your first chance to buy tickets for this year’s festival before they go on sale to the general public.

Richmond will open the gates of Brown’s Island for its second World Beer Festival on Saturday June 18, 2011 with the proceeds benefiting FETCH a Cure once again this year.  The general public will be able to purchase tickets starting on May 9th. Four days may never seem so long.  Tickets will be available online here or you can buy them at Mekong or any of the three Capital Ale House locations.

This year’s festival promises to be better than the last. How do I know? Why, because they asked me!  Last week, I had the extreme honor of participating in a roundtable discussion called by the folks at All About Beer Magazine to discuss how to improve upon last year’s festival. A lot of great ideas were tossed around. While I can’t tell you what will be different this year, I can tell you that the people at All About Beer are committed to making the festival something Richmonders can be proud to call their own.

If you have not marked your calendar yet, take a look at what I wrote about last year’s festival over at GayRVA.com here.

With GayRVA.com having it’s birthday party on the 17th and WBF RVA on the 18th, these two days in June are bound to be the hottest RVA has had all year.