Monday, November 06, 2006

Cask Head Cask Ale Festival

A local pub in my neighborhood holds several Cask Ale Festivals every year. This was their tenth tri-annual festival and the third of the year, if I am not mistaken. For some reason I usually miss them either because I am busy or I don't find out about them until it is too late. This one lasted three days and to make up for lost time I visited each day.

The Brazen Head

The Brazen Head normally has two Real Ales available but for this event they were going to have between 25 and 30 over the three days. Needless to say this required the addition of several more barrels.

Helping out with this even were a couple of friendly and knowledgeable guys.


Although Andy seemed to know a lot about the Real Ales he was pouring, the only thing I saw him drink was Pabst Blue Ribbon out of a can. I guess he didn't want to over-tax his palate.

The other fellow, Alex, was willing to quaff the Real Ale on occasion though.

Bar Man and Alex About to Quaff

Alex also had the job of mopping the floor and ceiling when one of the tapping jobs went a bit awry.

Alex Mopping The Ceiling

The regular bartender, Joy, kept busy behind the bar where two of the Real Ales were available as well as their usual fine selection of beers and other potables.

Barman and Joy Enjoying A Real Ale

On Friday I met a couple of congenial fellows who stopped in for the Festival and we shared a few beers.

Art, Jay, and Bar Man

Jay didn't care for the Cask Ales though so he had to content himself with one of the other offerings, of which their were plenty available.

Jay had such a good time that he came back on Saturday with his wife, Lorraine.

Jay and Lorraine

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and Lorraine hit it off, probably because the could commiserate over how much their men-folk were imbibing. They graciously agreed to pose in front of the list of the offerings.

Mysterious Chinese Woman and Lorraine

On Saturday the four of us headed to Pete's Waterfront for ribs and then stopped in at Montero's for a few beers and tequila shots. I should have taken more pictures but, for some reason, lost my focus.

The Brazen Head has a small outdoor area where you can sit if the weather is nice, or pop out for a smoke. I thought it was put to excellent use this weekend.

On Friday I had:

Hoptical Illusion - 6.2%
A good IPA type of beer.

Legacy Hoptmus Prime - 9.5%
A bit of a perfume nose to it, but in a good way.

Heartland Smiling Pumpkin 5.5%

Not a bad pumpkin ale and kind of appropriate for this time of year.

Sixpoint Ginger Righteous Ale - 7.2%
A bit on the thin side with only a hint of ginger flavor. I will have to try this one again because my palate wasn't at its sharpest at this point.

Captain Lawrence Pleasantville Smoked Porter - 6.4%

This was a really good smoked porter, lots of smoky taste which I tend to like

Brooklyn Brewery Blast IPA - 8%
This is what I thought I had a Peter's Waterfront Ale House the other day, but it wasn't. This was more of what I expected, a very hoppy and quite tasty IPA.

On Saturday I had:

Chelsea Cream Stout - 7.5%
Heavy and chocolaty with a nice creamy head.

Stoudt's Juniper Scarlet Lady - 5%

On the thin side with almost no head at all. It did taste like juniper berries though.

Warwick Valley Doc's Cider Cherry - 4.5%
A surprisingly refreshing cider with a hint of cherry to it. Not overly sweet. It tasted really fresh, like something you might find at a roadside stand, if you were lucky.

Paper City Winter Palace Wee Heavy - 7.6%
This had a dark color to it but had a very nice crisp dry taste.

Sly Fox IPA - 7.2%
Really dry, too dry to be much of a thirst quencher, but pretty good.

Defiant ESB - 6.5%

This was a really dark brew with a strange head, almost like little soap bubbles that never really accumulated but kept building and popping for a long time. It was dry and very hoppy.

On Sunday I had:

Butternut Pork Slap Pale Ale - 4.2%
This was very heavy and sweet with almost a butterscotch flavor. Would have been good for desert. The little kids would love it.

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter - 7.8%
Very heavy and dark and very hoppy.

Rogue Brutal Bitter - 6.5%
This was very good. Rogue seldom disappoints. It was a dark golden color and was very dry and bitter.

Paper City Blonde Hop Monster - 9%
I guess this would qualify as a barley wine. Quite potent but the alcohol didn't overwhelm the flavor. It was very hoppy and had a nice floral nose to it.

Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve Double IPA - 8%

Very hoppy and, considering the alcohol content, went down way to easily.

Defiant Christmas Ale - 8.4%
This was quite heavy and sweet but the high alcohol content kept it from being cloying.

Now one of the things that I liked about this festival is that you buy tickets for either $3 for a 10 ounce glass or $5 for a 16 ounce glass. No little sippy cups here. You can exchange your glass for a clean one when you switch your drink so you don't get any of that hated taste overlap. It really is a great way to spend a day or two or three and learn something about Cask Ales in the process. I don't really think of it as drinking, I think of it as furthering my education.