Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cask Ale (finally)

Finally got some ale fresh from the cask this week. It seems like every beer joint I've been in lately that advertises cask ale "just emptied" their last cask. Taking that statement at face value, I concluded that beer from the cask must be some really good stuff, worth the effort I put forth in tracking it down.

When I finally found the cask, I tried 2 beers, Brooklyn Bitter and Oliver's Pagan Porter (w/Vanilla Beans). The natural carbonation gives the beer a less fizzy mouthfeel, and is supposed to accentuate the beer's natural flavors.

The Brooklyn Bitter lacked any flavor, despite the bitter name it was quite tame. This reminded me of my homebrew pre-bottling (and pre carbonation)...not something I could drink every day. I'm not a huge fan of fizzy beers, even though a Korean man once gave me a full discourse on why Korean beer is better than American beer...more bubbles. I checked the Hite and Cass website, and confirmed this Korean belief...the website explained the more fizz = more flavor theory in somewhat of a scientific way with several graphs and charts. This was all in Korean, so I deduced the preceding by looking at the graphs, charts and pictures.

Oliver's Pagan Porter was much better. At first taste, this is a typical porter...somewhat creamy, bold flavors...but without the carbonated kick at the end. The vanilla smell was quite strong. After finishing the beer, the glass smelled more like an empty bowl of vanilla ice cream rather than a pint glass.

Overall, the cask chase was somewhat of a let-down. I'll continue to try cask ales. I have a feeling that I haven't found the right beer yet. Now that I've found my cask source, I'll be back.

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