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The Beer Circle » Beer Festival » Snallygaster 2013: Magnificently Monstrous Merriment at Union Market

Snallygaster 2013: Magnificently Monstrous Merriment at Union Market

Snally LineWhen I bought my ticket for Snallygaster a few months ago, I had a hard time believing that it could possibly beat its inaugural offering. However, as I watched the official Facebook page, which posted new beers that would be offered each week, my anticipation grew into full on excitement. It eventually culminated to a level of giddiness that is typically reserved for a teenaged girl getting tickets to see her favorite band.

Because last year I had experienced some issues with the VIP ticket not offering much more than its much cheaper advanced ticketing counterpart, I opted to lose the extra hour and showed up at 1pm. I knew that beer #1 on most people’s minds was the Firestone Walker Parabajava, in other words, Parabola with coffee added. I rushed to the tent to make that beer my first.

I made it to third in line when the keg kicked.

ParabajavaDevastation filled my soul as I begged the pourer for the dregs of the keg, but I was told that they were already gone. Defeated, I made it to my second option: Allagash’s Avance, a quadruple brewed once in 2010 and aged in oak barrels with strawberries. It was delicious and sour, which woke my tastebuds up and got me back on the right track. Sadly, I was disappointed to learn that my #3 most anticipated beer, Founders Breakfast Stout with bourbon-soaked oak chips and tsin tsin chili peppers added, apparently didn’t make it to the festival in time. The beer that surprised my the most was Lagunitas High Westified Cappuccino Stout. A coffee stout aged in rye whiskey barrels doesn’t have to do a lot to steal my heart, but this was one of the smoothest beers I have ever tasted. The two beers that I missed out on notwithstanding, the event was a huge success.

Those in charge, the famed Neighborhood Restaurant Group that also runs Churchkey, Rustico, and Bluejacket, learned from mistakes made at the first Snallygaster. Last year, non-VIPs were allowed to enter the festival early, and VIPs got a shirt instead of the coveted mug, which were changes that I heard mentioned in the crowd numerous times that people were happy with. They also shrunk the size of the venue, which made it feel PACKED from 1pm until the event shut down. Apparently, roughly twice as many online pre-sale tickets were sold, which highlights the growing popularity of craft beer in the District.

Despite the increasing number of patrons and smaller venue, the lines never seemed to get out of control, and, outside of Parabajava and Avance, most beers were still available hours after the flood gates were opened. Even the bathroom lines, which were awkwardly placed by the children’s area, moved quickly. The rain that threatened to ruin an otherwise cool, but enjoyable day, held off, adding to the aura.

Overall, I can’t wait for year three of this epic day of inimitable imbibery. I don’t think it comes as a shock when I say that this is the best beer festival that DC has to offer.

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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