Mar 23, 2013

NERAX 2013 report...


So, that happened... I was there for the afternoon session of the closing day and had a blast of three hours. Especially for me who is being the annoying guy around complaining all the time not having enough cask ales in bars in US it was like a "shut your front door and drink!" kind of three hours. The moment I walked in Somerville American Legion Hall 388 the smell levitated me an inch above the ground. It was like walking in a room full of mash tuns in a distillery. The hall was small, the crowd was very serious and the staff was amazingly friendly and helpful. I got my pint glass and started to sample. Thank God they were pouring 1/4 pints so I could sample quite a few brews throughout the afternoon. Needless to say it was impossible to taste every cask offered in the event and a lot of brews I was excited for were long gone in earlier sessions like the Germans but I managed to collect enough tasting notes at least to be able to put my top five of the day:

"Glaslyn" by Purple Moose Brewery from Porthmadog, Gwyneth, Wales (4.2%): Definitely the winner of the session... Nose is like sticking your head in a mash tun in a Scotch Whisky distillery and getting light headed from the CO2 filling in your nostrils. Amazingly tasty, roasted, crunchy malted barley notes on the palate. Superb brew... Yumm!

"400 Pound Monkey" by Left Hand Brewing, Longmont, CO, US (6.8%): The nose is sour and soapy in a beautiful way but not so aggressive. The palate takes all the points from me: heather, tart fruits, damp black garden soil, bread and butter and oaked Chardonnay. Excellent brew from Left Hand Brewing showing that they are not only about the Milk Stout.

"C-Dah Pils by Martha's Exchange Brewery, Nashua, NH, States (5.1%): Ok, this is going to sound a little weird but the nose is resembling urinals of a dive bar... Not disturbing though. The palate is citrusy with lemon zest, grapefruit and kumquat rounded with beautiful toasted wood notes. A perfectly balanced mellow pilsner. Would be a perfect brew to sip at your neighborhood bar right after work on a hot summer evening before you go home...

"Plum Porter" by Titanic Brewery from Staffordshire, England (4.9%): No, kidding! This thing smells and tastes like plums... I am pretty sure it wasn't but that nose and palate make me remember the beer purple in color. Strong, rich but also dangerously easy going. Perfect after dinner brew...

"Wild One" by Bantam Cider, Cambridge, MA, States (6%): It is a cask conditioned cider from the creators of Wunderkind cider. A cider blended from two separate wild fermentations, unfined and unfiltered. Cloudy, dry and sour like Normandian ciders. My kind of an apple brew. Only if I could find it bottled somewhere...

Kudos to Cask-conditioned Ale Support Campaign for putting up a very successful event...