Snallygaster 11: A little rain and a lot of fun.
With over 175 breweries serving more than 350 great beers, the mythical Snallygaster monster descended on the Nation’s Capital for the 11th time on Oct. 14. Rain or shine, Snallygaster brings a world-class beer festival to the Nation’s Capital. This year’s rain didn’t deter the 8,000 festival-goers from having a great time enjoying beer, cider, and wine.
The DC area is fortunate to hold Snallygaster which is hosted by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG), the minds behind DC’s Bluejacket, ChurchKey, The Sovereign, Shelter, and more. Thanks to the expert curation by NRG’s Beverage Director Greg Engert, every pour at Snallygaster represented a standout, outrageously delicious choice.
Beyond the beverages, Snallygaster entertained us with special features like two music stages and a new Podcast Stage with five podcasts discussing current and future beer-related topics. While beer was the main focus of the day, Snallygaster expanded its family-friendly kid’s zone to include more activities for kids of all ages. As part of the effort to support local businesses, there was Shop Made in DC, an area to buy crafts, and a selection of local food trucks ensured that everyone could find something tasty to eat. The festival is a great chance to see beer friends both old and new.
Multiyear attendee Paul Hurwitz commented that “The two main reasons I love to attend Snallygaster are it provides the opportunity to taste hundreds of great beers I’ve never tried before, and it allows the opportunity to interact with hundreds of interesting people from all walks of life who share my love of great beers.”
There were many beer styles represented and festival-goers had the opportunity to learn about the different beers that were poured and the brewing process behind them. Jake Endres Co-owner and production manager at Crooked Run Fermentation in Northern Virginia and DC, said “We are happy to be back at Snallygaster. Even when the weather’s not so great, with the Capitol as the backdrop and a really well-put-together festival that brings together some amazing US breweries and international breweries, it’s a fantastic experience for brewers and participants as well. This year we served two cool beers. In honor of Oktoberfest, we had a collaboration that we did with Maryland’s Landmade Brewing. This single decocted Marzen used all Virginia grain. We also had a stout that was a four-way collab with Barreled Souls, Finback, and Tripping Animals that was released for our 10th anniversary. It was aged in bourbon barrels and with cinnamon, three kinds of vanilla, a bunch of different kinds of toasted nuts, and maple syrup.”
Snallygaster offers a unique experience for beer lovers, a chance to not only try new breweries and new styles of beer but also to speak to brewery people from all around the world. Eric Jensen from Parleaux Beer Lab in the Ninth Ward of the Bywater in New Orleans, Louisiana said “As the southernmost brewery on the Mississippi River, we’re super excited to be at Snallygaster representing Louisiana. We love funk, lagers, and people. So it’s really fun to be here. It is our first time at Snallygaster. It’s been an amazing experience with so many incredible breweries here.”
A number of the brewers highlighted partnerships with local producers as well as farmers overseas. Ben Clayton, the head brewer and founder of The Test Brewery, based in Brooklyn, New York said, “We’re pouring a double IPA called the Consecration of Graffiti topped with Citra and El Dorado hops. Our Imperial Stout is conditioned on a really special land-raised coffee variety from a small family farm in Ethiopia, and then we finished it on rock cacao and the caviar from whole Madagascar vanilla beans. We’re happy to be at this incredible festival on this rainy day with a line of people wanting to try our beers.”
Drinking for a Cause: Snallygaster is the largest annual fundraiser for Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture. Arcadia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC area.
One festival-goer, Colleen Bagony, a teacher from Virginia, summed up the experience perfectly: “This is my first time here and it takes a lot to get me out on a Saturday in the rain but this festival is awesome. I’m having a great time with my friends and it was worth every penny.” With impressive brews and programming, Snallygaster proves itself one of America’s premier beer festivals time and time again. It’s not too early to start planning for next year’s festival. Check out the Snallygaster website or join the mailing list to be the first to know next year’s date.
Certain aspects of the research and/or drafting for this piece may have employed AI.
Here are some scenes of Snallygaster 2023 in downtown Washington, DC, held again this year along Pennsylvania Avenue NW. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Dan Rozman.