Savor 2009: Part 2 – Beer and food highlights

by Steph Weber - June 3rd, 2009
Categories: fest, pair, review

There were a ton of amazing beers at Savor, in addition to the ones I mentioned yesterday. Here, in my humble opinion, are the highlights!

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Schlafly (The Saint Louis Brewery) – Oak-aged beers
Two of the most talked-about beers at Savor were Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine Style Ale and Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Both are all-malt, dense, devine brews. The Imperial Stout is really memorable with its rich, roasty flavors and Bourbon/oak character.

Moon River Brewing – Rosemary Swamp Fox IPA
One of my favorites from Savor was one of the most creative beers there – Rosemary Swamp Fox IPA. They used 1.5 oz of rosemary for a 15-gallon batch. The aroma screams rosemary, but the flavor of it is much more subtle, a bit lemony. And as my dear husband put it, “It has great burps!”

Rogue – Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
Another unique beer was Rogue’s Imperial Pilsner. At 8.8% ABV, it’s shockingly chuggable and incredibly clean. This beer would definitely sneak up on unsuspecting victims.

New Holland – Dragon’s Milk
This English style strong ale is aged in oak for four months. It’s roasty, chocolatey, and complex, with a great bourbon character. However, I felt that the pairing with the black forest chocolate, though delicious on its own, detracted from the flavor of the beer. It really has enough chocolate character on its own, and the two flavors competed for attention on my palate. Anyhoo, great beer!

Avery – Brabant Barrel-Aged Wild Ale
This is a new one from Avery, and apparently it’s not too easy to find, so I’m glad I got to try it at Savor. It’s fermented entirely with Brettanomyces and aged in Zinfandel barrels. Though it isn’t my favorite sour ale, it is interesting and quite complex, so I thought it was worth mentioning here.

The Bruery – Saison Rue
This was the first beer I’ve had from The Bruery, which I’ve been wanting to try for some time. It’s a little tart, a hint of citrus and spice, pretty dry, and refreshing. My only complaint was that it was a bit over-carbonated. But otherwise, a great beer.

Odell Brewing – Woodcut No. 2
Now this is a beer that I’d like to find a bottle of and try at home. It’s a limited-edition oak-aged golden ale. Golden ale meets oaky-vanilla yum. Really unique!

All in all, there were some truly excellent beer offerings to be had at Savor this year. The brewers brought their most unique and innovative beers to date. Savor seems to offer a challenge to brewers to shine above all the rest, which is something that I hope doesn’t change in the years to come!

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So many happy craft beer drinkers...

Now, about the food…

The pairing aspect of Savor needs a little work. For the sake of convenience, breweries were organized by table according to the two foods with which they paired their two beers. Organizationally, this makes perfect sense. Keep all the same foods in one place, rather than having a hodgepodge all over the place. But at the same time, this severely limited the food choices for the breweries.

For example, Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout found a good match in the Espresso Sambuca Parfaits. But the other dish at this table was Jicama and Green Papaya Summer Rolls, so Schlafly had no choice but to pair their rich, malty Barleywine with this light, incredibly delicate food. Awful, awful pairing.

BUT, I’m not here to bash the food, which was wonderful on its own!

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Apparently, I was hungry...

My four favorite dishes of the night:

Open-Faced Tenderloin Panini
Grilled Italian baguettes painted with garlic olive oil, topped with thinly slice rare grilled beef tenderloin, roasted red peppers, buffalo mozzarella and arugula

Andouille Sausage en Croute
Wrapped in puff pastry with spinach and spicy mustard

Black Bean and Shiitake Mushroom Quesadillas
Smoked poblano and Sonoma goat cheese with blackened tomato salsa

Shrimp Satay
Jumbo shrimp coated with fresh shrimp paste, crisped with toasted panko bread crumbs, offered with tamarind dipping sauce

They also had a wonderful cheese table (Mareike Raw Milk Aged Gouda and Widmer 4 year cheddar were love) and an oyster bar with a very long line. Additionally, the hand-crafted artisan chocolates from Kingsbury Chocolates and the Perfect Truffle were decadently delicious.

And that, my friends, completes my review of Savor 2009. I had an incredibly good time, and will be attending next year with bells on!

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of the projected logos on the pillars at the venue. Tré cool.

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A word from our sponsors...

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Thanks, Savor!

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