Written by Senior Beer Correspondent, Anna Fu.
When I heard about the Snallygaster beer festival in the Washington Post, I reached out immediately to Haley to beg her to go with me. She said yes! and so we went. Here is my review, plus a primer so you’ll know what to do/what not to do next year.
- Snallygaster is the area’s largest and most highly-acclaimed craft beer party. It is not a people-eating dragon, just in case you went to Wikipedia first. This is the festival’s fifth year, and it is held in September in Yards Park in Southeast D.C.
- There are lots of beers, and many of them are fantastic. More than 350, according to the site’s FAQ. Saisons, IPAs, witbiers, stouts, porters, goses, everything. The selection is curated by Greg Engert, beer director at Churchkey and Bluejacket. If you’ve ever visited either place, you know that Engert has great taste and knows how to find the rarest and juiciest brews.
- To avoid being overwhelmed, make a wish list ahead of time. The Snallygaster FAQ page pointed me to an app called Pombe, which listed all of the featured beers and where to find them in the event area (there are about 10 massive tents set up around Yards Park, each named after a mythical monster).
- Go early, because people in this city are serious about their craft beers and might drink them before you get there. Snallygaster had two ticket types: early admission for $60 (you get in 1.5 hours ahead of everyone else) and general admission for $35. You get the same number of beer credits for each ticket, but going early lets you sample the small batch brews that are really popular. Sadly, all Veil, Founders, and Stone beers tapped out before I could try them.
- Even if you come late there is still SO MUCH BEER to try! On a whim I tried the 21st Amendment Hop Crisis and the Champion Violent Trubulence. Both were delightful and are usually unavailable in D.C. supermarkets/taprooms. Haley raved about The Brewer’s Art 20th Anniversary Ale and the Weissenohe Eucharius Märzen.
- The more you drink, the more friends you make. But isn’t this true everywhere?
- But go slow, kids! Day drinking is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t want to do anything crazy like double-fist a round of 10.0% ABV Imperial IPAs and “liquidate your assets” on the sidewalk (speaking hypothetically). Drink lots of water and maybe go with a group of six or more people so you can try a variety of beers. Remember, Snallygaster beers are the most alcoholic and therefore most popular best beers in the country. Just a sip and you can honestly brag that you tried the Founders Kentucky Barrel-Aged Bourbon Stout and log it in on Untappd.