Now that the Craft Brewers Conference is officially underway, we're going to be publishing a daily guide to the night's best tastings, tappings and events, with a few notes about what we drank the night before. As always, check out my preview of the week's events and a full schedule on the conference's Web site.
Where to be tonight: Great American saison drafts at ChurchKey
Light, spicy Belgian saisons are the perfect beers for spring, but in recent years, some of the best versions of this style have come from America. A dozen breweries will join forces to offer 35 different saisons on tap at ChurchKey, including Stillwater, Saint Somewhere, Jolly Pumpkin and Jester King. (The full tap list is on ChurchKey's Facebook page.) The bar will also have 20 beers from Michigan's Short's Brewing Company on tap.
Other things that sound awesome:
The Black Squirrel is hosting a North Carolina Beer Festival, beginning at 7 p.m., with beers from Aviator, Big Boss, Duck Rabbit, Foothills, Highland and Mother Earth. See the full beer list on the Black Squirrel's site.
Bring the Funk at Boundary Road pairs "rare and funky" beers from Firestone Walker, New Belgium and Heavy Seas with artisanal cheeses.
Meridian Pint's St. Louis Tap Takeover turns all its draft beer lines over to breweries from the Gateway City. Brewers Dan Kopman (Schlafly), Phil Wymore (Perennial Artisan Ales) and Florian Kuplent (Urban Chestnut Brewing Company) will be on hand for the event in Meridian Pint's basement. Check out the full draft list.
Last Night in Review
I spent the night at two events in Adams Morgan: The Dogfish Head IPA showcase at Smoke and Barrel and the Terrapin Tap Takeover at Mellow Mushroom. The Dogfish Head event was a launch party for Sixty-One, a new IPA made with syrah grape must. The addition of the grape juice and skin added a little color and slightly tart flavor to a good IPA, but it wasn't something I'd go out of my way to seek out.
Down the block, Mellow Mushroom had six beers from Georgia's Terrapin Brewery, including the new Mosaic, which is made solely with Mosaic hops from Washington. Try it if you're not familiar with these hops – I got a lot of orange and stone fruit. But I was happier to get reacquainted with Wake and Bake, a rich oatmeal stout punched up with coffee beans blended and roasted in Athens, Ga., and the big and malty Hoppy Monster, which definitely lives up to its name. Terrapin is available in Virginia and was just introduced to Maryland, so Free Staters should keep an eye out for it.