The Founder of DC Beer Fest Snallygaster Shares His Favorite New Beers for Fall
From spicy, mole-inspired stouts to fruity, hazy IPAs
For centuries the people of Frederick County, Maryland, have been terrorized (or so legends say) by a large, winged beast called the Snallygaster. Part-reptile, part-bird, the Snallygaster is said to live deep within the caves of South Mountain, only coming out at night to steal livestock and small children from unsuspecting local farmers. Whether the legend is true or not, the terrifying beast was Greg Engert’s inspiration for the name of his popular DC beer festival, Snallygaster.
Coming to shut down four city blocks of Pennsylvania Ave. this weekend (October 12) for the eighty year, Snallygaster is “the district’s beastliest beer festival.” Festival goers can expect truly unlimited pours of 400 different brews from over 150 domestic and international producers. This year, Engert tells InsideHook that there will also be wine and low ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktails available, as well as food trucks, musical performances and a retail area.
Also the Beer Director for craft beer bar Churchkey and microbrewery Bluejacket, Engert first studied to become an English professor at Georgetown before getting swept up into a vortex of barley, hops and malt. “I fell in love with hospitality and craft beer, and the myriad of flavor profiles that were out there,” says Engert. “I found out beer could be crisp and clean, but also malty or sour — complex or rather simple. It seemed to me that there was this whole world out there.”
To help get you primed for the festival this weekend, we asked Engert for the brews that he’s most excited to imbibe. From spicy, mole-inspired stouts to fruity, hazy IPAs, check out Engert’s must-haves — all of which will be available to try at Snallygaster this weekend.
“This delicious kellerbier is coming to the U.S. for the first time this fall, and fans of unfiltered, rustic German lagers have cause for celebration. While crisp, clean and composed, Mönchsambacher Lagerbier is bursting with fresh flavors of herbal hops and toasted malt.”
“Known initially for their barrel-aged wild ales, this talented South Carolina brewer has branched out to produce dynamite stouts as well. Empress Rising: Mole takes velvety, rich base imperial stout and hits it with coffee, cinnamon, chipotle and guajillo peppers, vanilla and chocolate. A warming brew for the cooler fall days ahead.”
“Tiki cocktail-inspired and oh so tasty, this tart wheat ale is finished with apricot, pineapple, orange and lime. Creature Comforts continues to dress up their Athena Berlinerweisse in so many delicious ways that — while I adore the Tiki Swizzle — each of these sour ale variants is worth seeking out.”
“Masters of the Hazy IPA, Equilibrium have done it again with Space Rainbow. Brewed with a touch of lactose to guarantee a nice pillowy softness, this Double IPA delivers passionfruit, grapefruit, lemon-lime and tangerine notes born of Galaxy, Motueka and Citra dry-hopping. It all closes with classic Equilibrium juicy notes on the palate.”
“I’m continuing to push for the resurgence of real ale, and the cask beer from Fyne Ales — one of the most exciting Scottish craft beer producers — always helps make my case. Everyone Loves Chinook is one of their newer offerings that as impressed: low in alcohol (a mere 3.8%!) and immensely drinkable, with creamy carbonation and a round malt character that finishes dry and hop-forward. Bright grapefruit, pine and earthy tobacco notes predominate.”
“Brewing and blending spontaneously fermented, oak-aged lambics since 1882, Girardin has stuck to exporting Gueuze (a blend of young and old lambics) and Kriek (lambic aged on cherries) — until now. The first kegs of Oude Lambiek are arriving stateside this fall, and this blend of two-year-old lambics shows quintessential qualities of tart oak, mild, earthy funk and vibrant citrus notes.”