Snallygaster – Mythical Beast and Beer Fest of Legend

Following on the heels of my visit to the Applebutter Festival, this past Saturday involved a trip to a different kind of festival. A Beer Festival… And despite the existence of the “Little Monster Zone,” this event was far more adult-themed. For those of you who don’t belong to the beer nerd camp, Snallygaster was organized by Neighborhood Restaurant Group, a band of restaurateurs and beer enthusiasts that are responsible for Churchkey (my favorite bar in DC), Rustico, Birch and Barley, Red Apron Butcher, and their latest venture, a DC brewery by the name of Bluejacket. For the inaugural Snallygaster event, Beer Director Greg Engert hand-picked almost 150 of his favorite beers and ciders, including a selection of over 20 different Pumpkin ales to celebrate fall. The entire thing was a benefit for Arcadia Farms, which had an awesome school bus on site with fresh produce you could pick up (and pair with your beer?….)

I met up with 3 other beer nerds (although I hesitate to even include myself in such a community – I’m not sure I have enough street cred for that) at Yards Park just after the opening of the event. We wound our way through the stalls named for a variety of mythical beasts like Hydra, Jabberwock, Leviathan and Kraken. The organizers weren’t exactly subtle about how legendary they envisioned this festival to be. Along the way, and after consuming a couple taster portions, we grabbed some choice items from the Red Apron Butcher tent — a classic hot dog for me, and a sauerkraut, bacon and mustard-topped bratwurst for my friend. With a belly quickly filling with beer, this really hit the spot–especially when enjoyed overlooking the sparkling Potomac, listening to a live band right on the waterfront.

Over the course of the 4 hours we spent wandering and basking in the sun, I sampled 14 different beers – a total I’m pretty darn happy with. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Bluejacket & Mad Fox Mad Jacket | Weizenbock | DC & Virginia | 7.2%
  • Bluejacket & Oxbow Freestyle #10 | Saison | DC & Maine | 4%
  • Elysian The Great Pumpkin | Pumpkin Ale | Washington | 9.5%
  • Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin | Pumpkin Ale | Maryland | 8%
  • Schneider Wiesen Edel-Weisse | Hefeweizen | Germany | 6.2%
  • Brewer’s Art Le Canard | Belgian Strong Dark Ale | Maryland | 8%
  • New Belgium Peach Porch Lounger | Saison (Peach) | Colorado | 9.4%
  • Fritz Briem 1809: Zymatore | Berliner Weisse (Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged) | Germany | 5%
  • Smuttynose Strawberry Short Weisse | Berliner Weisse (Strawberries) | New Hampshire | 3%
  • Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus | Lambic (Pumpkin) | Belgium | 4%
  • Rogue 19 Original Colonies | Mead | Oregon | 5.2%
  • Bayerischer Bahnhof Leipziger Gose | Germany | 4.6%
  • Williamsburg AleWerks | Pumpkin Ale | Virginia | 7.3%
  • Kulmbacher | Eisbock | Germany | 9.2%

Pretty acceptable, right? I also snagged some Disco Fries (i.e. fries covered in sausage gravy…yum) at the end of the day–the better to prepare me for a night that may or may not have lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

So here’s to (hopefully) many future Snallygasters…but not the actual mythical beast because whoa, that thing looks surly.

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