Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Cask Beers Attack, You "Nose" It

Another interesting weekend segues into another busy week.....

About half-way through Round 1
The SweetWater Brew Your Cask Off event was Saturday. I was pretty excited to get a last-minute invite to be a judge. By last-minute I mean I was drinking Mean Joe Bean Friday night at Deckard's with SweetWater's owner, the infinitely energetic Freddy Bensch, and he sprung the offer on me. Apparently someone had backed out, and since none of our four entries were actually mine, I was eligible. Obviously I wasn't going to turn down the offer, so the 2011 BYCO went from starting at 6 pm, to starting at noon for me.

They went from number 1 to 90
I got to meet some really interesting people there. I sat next to a local morning radio personality, rubbed elbows with some guy from Top Chef, and had a nice chat with the on-air law enforcement/terrorism expert for CNN. Not too shabby, right? The founder and owner of All About Beer magazine was there too, but I have met him before. Anyway, nine groups of three judged ten casks each, taking the field of 90 entrants down to 30 advancing to the second round. Then about half of the judges judged the beers that advanced to the second round, and then after that the remaining judges judged the beers that made it through to round three. That round resulted in the three eventual winners. Confused yet? Don't worry, the specifics aren't really important or all that interesting really. We tasted some really good beers, and we tasted a few really bad ones. All of them were numbered, and then later lettered, to maintain their anonymity. All in all though, the beers were far more good than bad, and the overall beer quality was way above last year's BYCO.

Round 2 is under way

Once the event started getting into full steam, I had already been on site for over six hours. I had also been drinking beer either from the casks or from the taps inside SweetWater's tasting room for over six hours. Not that I am complaining about any of that, but when a few thousand excited beer drinkers started packing into the tents, I had had enough. Taxi! Yes, I dipped out around 7:00-ish. Sometimes you have to quit while you're ahead. But in case you missed it, here are the winners:

1st PLACE:  Cask #38 Final Gravity Home Brewers | Lika-Titi-Coco Porter
Porter with dates, vanilla and roasted coconut chips
2nd PLACE:  Cask #1 The Porter Beer Bar | The Sch’it
Hoppy porter with cactus sugar
3rd PLACE:  Cask #75 Fontaines | Two Pump Chump
Super hoppy beer with cardamom, orange peel and white pepper

Cask #62 Cypress Street Pint & Plate| Samhain
Pumpkin spiced porter influence by some Highland Park scotch

Now let's talk about what's going on this week:

  1. Salute To Smith's at Crabapple, Cumming, Mall of GA, Metropolis, and Perimeter locations on Wednesday. If you don't know what this is, please read last week's post. Seriously, I don't have all day to repeat myself. I love my readers, but you really need to work on your short-term memory. I suggested that last week and you already forgot, didn't you. See what I'm talking about?
  2. Mikkeller onslaught at The Fred this Thursday. Check it out: Draught-- I Hard Core You, Single Hop E. Kent Golding, Ris A la M'ale, It's Alive; Bottle-- Black Tie 500ml, Draft Bear 750ml, Green Gold 11.2oz, Not Just Another Wit 750ml, Red & White 1.5L.
  3. Salute To Smith's at Canton, Dallas Hwy, Decatur, Ellard, and Newnan locations. Who likes free stuff and awesome beer? Me too! What a coincidence.
  4. Cask of Peak Organic Spring Simcoe at our Woodstock location on Friday as well. If you play your cards right, you could hit this and the Salute To Smith's at Dallas Hwy in the same night.
And what about next week? Yeah, we have events next week. I am going to be in Charlotte for the cask of Foothills Sexual Chocolate on Tuesday the 15th. I will be there with everyone else who knows what's good for them. I know 99% of you don't live in Charlotte, but it isn't exactly on the other side of the world. There are so many locally made beers up there that do not come down here, it really is worth the trip up there one day if you like to rack up credits on your Brewniversity list. And frankly, I like a change of scenery every once in a while.

Deckard's American Tavern is having a St. Hoptrick's Day event on Thursday the 17th. Unless you are the "go to an Irish pub and drink green beer until I puke all over my stupid beads" kind of person, you might enjoy drinking Bell's HopSlam, Port Hop 15, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum or Terrapin Hoptaneous Combustion instead. Not into hoppy beers? What about Heavy Seas Aaarsh Red, Highland Gaelic or Rogue Kell's Irish Lager? There will be special food items too, including Shepherd's Pie and Irish Fish Cakes. In case you don't get it right away (and I didn't), if you pronounce the "Aaarsh" in "Aaarsh Red" like a pirate, it sounds kind of like "Irish Red". Maybe I am dense, but I didn't get that for a while until one day it just kind of clicked. Anyway, it is a high-grav red ale, like around 8%. Heavy Seas doesn't make any bad beers, and the rest of the line-up is pretty strong to say the least.

OK, that is all I have for you right now. April is going to be jam-packed with events too, but the end of March will not. I am going to the Craft Brewer's Conference in San Francisco from the 22nd through the 26th, so that week is wiped out. But stay tuned for April details, because it's looking pretty killer already. Have a great week everyone. 
PS- I did not say anything about your short-term memory in any previous posts to my knowledge. Maybe I did, I don't really know. Don't stress out about it. Forget the subject ever came up. Which you may have already done. 
OK, who farted? Really? Everybody at once?