Prepared and Loving It: A User’s Guide to Snallygaster

Photo credit @brew_love on Instagram

Think back to the end of that hot D.C. summer, and come for a ride with Senior Beer Correspondent, Anna Fu.  

Last year was my first time attending D.C.’s largest beer festival, Snallygaster; in the year since I have tried close to 1,000 craft beers and have enjoyed beers from some of the country’s best craft brewers. When the festival organizers started releasing updated lists of brewers attending, I was quick to make notes and start putting together a list so as not to miss out.


I snagged a Jabberwocky ($65) pass when tickets went on sale in April to make sure I got in on some of the more in-demand brews before the general admission crowd. A friend asked me to grab a Cantillon Fou’ Foune for him because this Belgian wild ale would surely sell out quickly. At 11:30am prompt, my husband and I sprinted to the other end of the park and I stood in line for Fou’ Foune, giving up 10 of my 30 allotted beer tickets for a beer I would spend the next hour-and-a-half babysitting on ice.

It was hot as hell in Yards Park that Saturday. Which meant aside from the precious Fou’ Foune, we couldn’t leave our samples sitting on the table long or they would get hot. And nothing turns the stomach quicker than hot fermented yeast! Fortunately there were VIP tents set up especially for Jabberwocky ticket holders, so we found a spot in the shade to drink before more friends arrived.     

Here’s a quick list of all the beers I tried, in order of favorites!

  1. Phantom Limb Pain (Imperial Stout) — The Answer Brewpub
  2. 2 Year Anniversary Cotton Stout (Imperial Milk/Sweet Stout) — Aslin Beer Company
  3. Barrel-Aged 4th Anniversary (American Imperial Stout) — Westbrook Brewing Co.
  4. Experimental Jet Set (Double IPA) — Foam Brewers
  5. Mexican Cake 2015 (American Imperial Stout) — Westbrook Brewing Co.
  6. Gold Foil (Double IPA) — Final Gravity Brewing Co. RVA
  7. Folk Implosion (Double IPA) — Foam Brewers
  8. 10 Layers (Stout) — RAR Brewing
  9. Foggy Notion (Double IPA) — Final Gravity Brewing Co. RVA
  10. Metallic Primate (Saison/Farmhouse Ale) — Fonta Flora Brewery

Things got loud and crazy from 1-3pm when hundreds more people arrived. Tons of people commented on our pretzel necklaces, a huge win for the planning-ahead crowd.  We parked at a picnic table in the shade and would venture out in pairs to get beers and food.

The combination of sun, strong beer, loud noises, and crowds made me tired pretty quickly, but I wasn’t going to leave before Rare Essence played. They took the stage right next to us around 3:30pm. Their show was supremely mellow; by then the sun was starting to move a bit, casting shadows around the tent and the stage.

Before next year’s Snally rolls around in September 2018, make sure to make yourself a pretzel necklace to munch on between beers, snag a spot in the shade, and use teamwork to your advantage.  But most of all, try some new beers!




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