Thursday, May 22, 2008
Brazen Head's Cask Ale Festival
Well, it was finally here and I managed to pop in all three days. On the first day, Friday the 16th, it wasn't at all crowded when I showed up a bit after noon. Only about half a dozen people. I am sure it crowded up later on though.
I was met with a rather curious sign:
Well, more misleading than curious. I mean why would you spend $4.50 for a half pint when a whole pint is only $6.50? It took some questioning before I could figure it out. The half pint is half an imperial pint. An imperial pint is 20 ounces so you are getting 10 ounces for your $4.50. The pints, however, are standard 16 ounce pints. Confused yet? I am sure a lot of people were.
I started out with a couple of the half pints.
Bar Man And His Half Pints (good name for a band)
I figured I would start big so I had the Arcadia Hop Rocket Ale, a hefty 9% alcohol brewed in the double IPA style. It is from Arcadia Brewery which is located in Battle Creek, Michigan. As you might expect, this one packed a lot of hops and was a nice eye-opener.
My second one was Stoudt's Scarlet Lady from the Stoudt's Brewery in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. This one is a milder 4.8% alcohol and is an English Extra Special Bitter. I did indeed find it to be bitter with a burnt coffee flavor. I didn't particularly care for this one.
Having wet my whistle I decided to up the quantities a bit and my next two were full pints.
Bar Man And The Big Boys
I had the Magic Hat Lucky Kat, an American IPA from the venerable Magic Hat brewery in Burlington, Vermont. I am a big fan of the #9 they produce and this was a tasty one as well. It was a golden color and although it had a very hoppy nose, it had a nice malty taste to it. My kind of an IPA.
I finished this day with the Chelsea Sunset Red. The Chelsea Brewery is in Manhattan and I am generally a big fan of their beers. This one, not so much. It had a nice coppery color but had a thin head that looked a bit like soap suds that have sat for awhile.
It is an American Amber Ale and comes in a 5.6% alcohol. Has a malty taste but was a bit sour. The Mysterious Chinese Woman said she detected notes of ammonia. Maybe they were soap suds.
Saturday was warm and sunny so I just popped in for a couple.
I opted for another Chelsea product, the Checker Blonde Ale. It is a light 5.5% alcohol and is a Kolsch style ale. This is a style of beer that is common in Cologne, Germany. A bright yellow with a decent white head. Very refreshing with a light, but not over-powering, hop flavor and nose. Quite refreshing and perfect for a sunny day.
I followed that up with the Smutty Nose IPA. This one comes in at 6.6% alcohol and pours a golden color. It has hints of citrus and pine and wasn't a bad brew at all.
You can see that the place was much more crowded today.
The following day, Sunday, Jim, The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I headed back again after our brunch at Jolie's.
Jim And Bar Man Having A Cool One
It was another nice day and we got here early enough so we beat the crowd. We shared three different ales today.
The Chelsea Flower and Showers Spring Wheat was a very drinkable number. A decent 6.4% alcohol that pours a bit hazy with an orangish amber color and a white head. It has a touch of a fruity spiciness to it, but nothing too serious. Most drinkable.
The Blue Point Double Blonde Ale, brewed by Blue Point in Patchoque, New York, is a bit stronger at 7.4% alcohol. This was a pleasant change from IPAs because it is quite malty. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The third one we had was Sixpoint Chocolate Brownstone Ale from near my neighborhood. The Sixpoint Brewery is in Red Hook and I have written about it before when I wrote about Rocky Sullivan's. This version was made especially for the festival and they infused it with chocolate from Taza, a small-batch chocolate company. It comes in at 5.7% alcohol so even though they call it a "session beer," I think it is a bit on the strong side for that designation. It was a good tasting beer, kind of like their normal Sixpoint Brownstone Ale with a bit of chocolate added. Go figure.
Even when they are not having an ale festival, Brazen Head has a good selection of beers and a fairly extensive selection of Scotches as well.
The Normal Offerings
Tomorrow I will definitely post about the Bass Brolly. Really, I promise.
Posted by Bar Man at 10:30 AM