SAVOR NYC: 14 June 2013, New York

Last weekend marked the latest installment of SAVOR, the country’s ultimate beer and food pairing arena. Taking to New York City this year, the Brewers Association made sure to solidify their most memorable event yet. Enlisting over 70 of America’s finest breweries, SAVOR was met with unique and innovative beers, matched with equally inventive finger foods.

When tackling a beer festival, it is key to prepare accordingly. There was a ton of ground to cover Friday night, and with a liberal two ounce pour, it was a challenge to experience some of the more hyped beers, as well as discover some of the newcomers and hidden gems.

Luckily, the event seemed to fall into place quite nicely. Starting off in the Supporter’s Circle, attendees received pours from some of the craft beer world’s biggest celebrities. You know, folks like Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery giving fans a taste of Positive Contact, or Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery pouring his notable Sorachi Ace. A particularly interesting taste came from Oakshire Brewing with their Frederic C. Noir Saison. Brewed with green tea, this sour Belgian was met with Brettanoymcyces Clausenii for two years in Pinot Noir barrels. And with a green tea panna cotta food pairing, you can just imagine how interesting this beer tasted.

Taking things over to the main pavilion, some of craft beer’s favorite breweries were represented. Included on the list were Ninkasi, Crooked Stave, Firestone Walker, Founders and many more. One delightful surprise came from Cigar City, a buzzing Tampa, Florida brewery that brought along a Saison brewed with Cucumber. It was refreshing, delicate and ultimately more enjoyable and complex than I imagined. Another exciting brewery to jump on the radar was Bayou Teche, who brought along a slick bunch of beers from New Orleans.

And we can’t go on any longer without mentioning the SAVOR Salons, which served as yet another way to enjoy some quality brews, straight from the source. With lectures going on every half hour, I was fortunate enough to experience Three Floyds’ Salon. This particular Salon allowed a select few to taste a unique selection of the Midwest’s finest offerings that weren’t available on the floor. One of which as the deadly double IPA Permanent Funeral, which didn’t hesitate to flaunt its full hop profile.

As the craft beer revolution continues to charge on, fine tasting events like SAVOR are sure to continue to pop up. But more than just a place where fans can try some great beers, SAVOR serves as a summit for the industry’s finest to connect, share stories and to build on what continues to be such an exciting time. While SAVOR will say farewell to New York City after this year and move back to Washington, D.C., the event has left its mark on a city that continues to carve a niche of its own in the world of craft beer.