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101 Beer Experiences: Eat and drink

Great beer begs for equally great food. These six can't-miss events and markets are rich with both.
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Photo of SAVOR courtesy of  the Brewers Association

Photo of SAVOR courtesy of the Brewers Association

Bust out the blazer for Washington, D.C.’s SAVOR, or just throw on sweats and head to Manhattan’s Union Square Greenmarket for true, fresh-from-the-farm brews. Either way, these are the spots to find amazing food alongside equally enticing brews:

Housed in Washington D.C.’s impressive, high-ceilinged National Building Museum, SAVOR is probably the only beer event where you should wear a button-down (and consider a tie).  Our advice: Absolutely do not eat before you arrive. For your appetizer, head straight to the back of the space where a chef shucks fresh oysters at the long oyster bar. Then start your epic gastronomic journey, finding perfectly paired bites and beers from around 75 breweries throughout the huge space.

The freshest of Chicago’s beer, cocktail and design tastemakers converge (tipsily) at the free, monthly Sauced Night Market, held alternately in the très-cool Pilsen and Logan Square neighborhoods. Sip beer samples from area breweries that have in the past included Marz Community Brewing, Moody Tongue Brewing Co. and Penrose Brewing Co. (order up a full pint at the venues’ bars), then browse records, fashion, jewelry and vintage finds from between 15 and 30 local artisans. Hungry? Market organizers make sure to invite restaurant vendors who make an art  of “drunk munchie food.”

Lawmakers in some states are beginning to legalize beer sampling or sales so you can buy beer or drink at farmers markets. See the farm-to-bottle connection when you pick up a bottle of From the Ground Brewery’s American Pale Ale or farmhouse ales at the Migliorelli Farm tent inside Manhattan’s Union Square Greenmarket: The brewery on a Tivoli, New York, farm sources at least 60 percent (sometimes all) of its  ingredients from the property.  In California, you can’t yet sample beer at most farmers markets (though the practice was legalized in 2015), but you can pull up a barstool and order a full pint of Angel City Brewery’s Farmers Market Blonde while you plan your produce shopping list at E.B.’s Beer & Wine inside L.A.’s Original Farmers Market in the Fairfax District.

The Oregon Brewers Festival features more than 90 breweries and is one of the top shindigs in the Pacific Northwest. To prep for the fest, go to the Oregon Brewers Brunch and parade that kicks off the five-day festival. Hosted by Portland’s Laurelwood Brewing Co. on July 27, the brunch includes food and two beers, plus a souvenir mug and four tokens for the festival. Afterward, join hundreds of costumed craft beer fans in the parade to the festival grounds at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Tickets for the brunch go on sale at 8 a.m. on May 2 at oregonbrewfest.com.

When asked to recommend a favorite Florida beer event, Cigar City Brewing’s Lucas Widrick and Chris Lovett threw us a curveball: “Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.” The weekslong fall fest at the Disney park includes seminars, international beer and food tasting events and visits from celebrity chefs, all against the backdrop of the “countries” of Epcot.

Here’s why you go to New Orleans in November: Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, an only-in-NOLA-style outdoor party, where you can taste 50 spins on the famous Cajun sausage. Discover the boudin you like best, whether it’s from names you know like Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali (they’re there, get a selfie!) or other acclaimed local chefs. The beer selection features a whole lineup of Abita Brewing Co. favorites and, if you really must, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is flowing, too.


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