This past weekend was one of Brew Works’ great events, the Cask Beer Festival. The festival, as with most all of the festivals there, was well-attended and well-run.
Flying Fish’s offering, Red Fish, was a hoppy take on a red ale, similar to Troegs Nugget Nectar. According to the rep working the table the brewery is contemplating brewing it regularly after they’re completely up and running at their new brewery. Stone was pouring a double dry hopped version of their IPA and damn was it tasty. Even in the hop-heavy festival, this outshone everything else.
Sam Adams was there pouring a cask of their Latitude 48 IPA which was very smooth and herbal. It was nice to get to try this as it’s rare to see Sam Adams pouring anything in cask. Yards came with a special version of their Love Stout. Aged on cocoa nibs and vanilla beans, it gave some depth and complex to what is usually a thin and boring beer.
Brew Works had the most interesting beer of the day for sure. Their Exploitation, an 11.5% black triple IPA, was hugely full of flavor. A huge malt background featuring notes of charred oak, smoke, and bitter chocolate yielded bitter, resinous hop flavors. It was a huge beer and, quite honestly, a bit too much. We do love experimental beers though, so it was nice to see them trying something huge and crazy.
Brew Works was also pouring their Black Friday, a bourbon barrel aged wee heavy. Not quite sure if this is the same recipe as the one they had on draft a few years ago, but this was exemplar. Many of the barrel aged beers from The Brew Works fall short, but this certainly did not. It was easily the best bourbon aged beer Brew Works has put out.
Chris Bowen, as always, impressed with his Hammersmith Ales. His Fremlins IPA rendition, adapted from a 1906 recipe, was stellar. Much darker than today’s IPAs, this still boasted a balanced bitter bite with a nuanced finish. He also served a scotch ale based on William Younger’s 1847 recipe as well as a take on Muhlen Kolsch. The kolsch was beautiful, with a strong, dank marijuana note to it. It was so light and refreshing it made you want a keg for a warm summer day.
And thankfully they put out some food down in the Silk lounge as well. There was a load of good Irish food that soaked up the booze. Potato leek soup, soda bread, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash were all inhaled in quick order.
See below for the full cask list as well as some photos. Apologies for the pics…they’re iPhone shots as we’re currently experiencing problems with our camera equipment.
Brew Works Black Friday
Brew Works Insidious
Brew Works Exploitation
Flying Fish Red Fish with Simcoe hops
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale dry hopped
Prism Bitto Honey
River Horse Double IPA
Samuel Adams Latitude 48
Sly Fox O’Reilly’s Stout
Stone IPA Dry hopped
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion
Yards Love Stout with chocolate nibs and vanilla beans
Ed. note: Passes for this festival were comped by The Brew Works