(May 9 & 10; Washington, DC
The best for mingling with brewmasters
Like a college student un-tagging Facebook pictures before a job interview, beer dresses fancy for the gold standard of festivals. After five years in DC, the Spring bash's 76 brewmasters and 39 beer styles migrated to New York for one year only, with a two-night long extravaganza with nary a beer pong table in sight. The event stands out with its in-depth, limited-attendance salons -- they range from a talk and tasting of experimental hops to a cellar-aged tasting -- and extensive chef-designed pairing menus for a huge array of the weekend's beer offerings.