Sweetwater's Nick Nock shows off his first place specialty beer award.
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6th Annual

ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING


January 30, 2010
Held at 5 Seasons Brewing Prado
Sandy Springs/Atlanta, GA





Brewing ales in Britain back in the 1800s was a rustic, laborious process. Cool cellars provided the only refrigeration.  Fermentation vessels were made of wood.  Ales were carbonated from carbon dioxide gas produced by residual yeast inside sealed wooden or metal casks called "firkins."  This old-world method of production and carbonation produces what has come to be known as cask-conditioned ale (also called cask ale or real ale).  Surprisingly, these traditional beers are making a comeback. Why is cask ale so special?  In the sealed firkin, yeast produces soft, light carbonation and complex, mellow flavor components before settling to the bottom of the container. After a time in the cask, special porous pegs are used to vent any excess carbonation, and a serving tap is hammered through a spout on the front of the cask.  Traditional real ale is served without pasteurization or additions of artificial carbon dioxide or other gasses.

The 2010 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting showcased 21 traditional and specialty cask-conditioned ales from some of the best craft breweries around the USA.  After a morning judging panel, the free public sampling session was held 4-7 PM.  Everyone was impressed with the flavors and excellent quality of these real ales.  The authentic Celtic music from
Buddy O'Reilly was also a hit.  It was a special evening centered around unique, flavorful beer.  Thanks to Dennis and Kevin of 5 Seasons and all our attendees and volunteers for making this special event possible!






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Text by Owen Ogletree
Photos by BJCP master beer judge (and chicken guy) Phil Farrell
Posted February 2010


Cask Ales at our 2010 Event:


01 - Allagash Four - A Belgian-style quadruple ale fermented four times with four different yeast strains. Brewed with date sugar, molasses, and dark and light candi sugar. Original gravity: 1.090, ABV: 10%.

02 - Atlanta Brewing Company's oak-aged Peachtree Pale Ale dry-hopped with Amarillo and Cascade. Peachtree Pale Ale comes in as a medium-bodied ale with bright, complex hop flavor and a fresh, floral nose.

03 - Bell's Expedition Stout - The vintage port of American stouts, the bottled version makes a great ale for the cellar. Well suited for November storms and trips across the Sahara. 10.5% ABV.

HONORABLE MENTION:  04 - The Bruery's 2 Turtle Doves (Belgian-style strong dark ale with spices). Part of our 12-year holiday ale series based on the "Twelve Days of Christmas," this 12% ABV ale contains cocoa nibs, toasted pecans and caramelized sugars, with notes of chocolate, dark fruits, rum and coffee.

05 - Clipper City's Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale packs over three pounds of Magnum, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Palisade hops per barrel. This 7.25% ABV ale is also hopped three ways - in the kettle, in the hop-back, and by dry-hopping.

06 - Copper Creek's Oatmeal Stout Aged on Cherries and Oak exhibits elegant notes of complex grains, coffee, cocoa, fruity esters and vanilla - all backed by a luscious cherry character.

07 - Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery's Cherry Madness, part of a very small sour beer experiment, boasts a color black as night with complex sour aromas and flavors accented by Montmorency sour cherries.

08 - 5 Seasons Prado's Kartoon Brune cask is an Abbey-style brown ale with additions of juiced sweet and tart cherries from Chile steeped with whole leaf hops. Walnut in color, with a fruity, estery nose and rich sweetness accentuated by seven different German and Belgian malts and an exotic mystery spice.

THIRD PLACE:  09 - French Broad Brewing - This Amarillo dry-hopped cask of Ryehopper represents brewer Chris Richards' first recipe released by the brewery. The malted rye contributes both roundness and a sharp earthy flavor, bridging the sweetness of the barley with the bitterness of the hops.

10 - Lagunitas Brewing's Brown Shugga' is a 9.9% ABV American strong ale brewed with 200 pounds of brown sugar per 30 bbl batch. Surprisingly slammable with a hop kick, the resulting beer ranks as a heady (yet dangerously smooth) ale, best described by the brewery as "irresponsible."

FIRST PLACE CLASSIC STYLE BEER:  11 - Left Hand Brewing's Fade to Black is a foreign-style stout (with six different malts and two hops) that pours jet-black with notes of licorice, espresso, molasses and black cardamom. Left Hand says, "Its 8.5% ABV gives way to a feeling of self loathing, burnt opportunities and smoked relationships."

12 - Max Lager's St. Mungo 90 Shilling Scotch Ale (9% ABV) displays a sweet malt character achieved by boiling the “heavy” first runnings along with dark brown sugar for a complex, caramelized character accented by a faint smokiness and hints of English East Kent Golding hops.

13 - Oskar Blues' Whole Flower Cascade Dry-Hopped Dale’s Pale Ale. Fresh, beautiful, unmolested hops give this 6.5% ABV firkin a special, floral sumptin’ sumptin’. A voluminously hopped "mutha," America’s first hand-canned craft beer delivers a hoppy nose and assertive pale malt balance.

14 - Shmaltz Brewing Company (He'Brew) - Jewbelation 13 Bar Mitzvah is a limited-edition holiday seasonal brewed with 13 malts and 13 hops - soaring to 13% ABV. Shmaltz celebrated its 13th year of delicious beer and delicious shtick with this special release.

15 - Rogue Dry-Hopped I2PA - Above and beyond an India pale ale, I2PA is radically hopped and commands an intense, citrusy aroma and hop bitterness. Ingredients include 2-row Pipkin pale malt; Saaz, Cascade and NW Golding hops; Rogue's Pacman yeast and free range coastal water.

16 - Sierra Nevada Porter - Dark and flavorful, this world-class robust porter is a delicious, medium-bodied ale with a creamy, tan head. The porter’s smooth flavor (malty with hints of caramel) comes from a blend of deep-roasted barley malts.

FIRST PLACE SPECIALTY BEER:  17 - SweetWater Brewing Company's Spice of Life is formed from a sample of SweetWater's highly-regarded, spiced seasonal Festive Ale aged in an oak barrel from Tennessee's Prichard's spiced rum distillery. This complex ale forms a well-balanced fusion of malt, oak, vanilla, spices and alcohol and is bound to add some spice to your life!

18 - Terrapin Beer Company - Dark Side Aged in Cherry Oak. Number 9 in the “Side Project” series of beers, the 8.5% ABV Dark Side registers as a Belgian-style imperial stout loaded with subtle nuances of dark Belgian chocolate, roasted grains and a hint of smoke in the finish. Fermented with real Trappist ale yeast.

19 - Thomas Creek Brewery's 8% ABV Dopple-Cocoa-Bock started with our award-winning Deep Water Dopplebock aged for an additional month to enhance its smooth character. In the firkin, raw, organic cacao nibs (made from crushed Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional beans) and sweet cocoa powder complement the rich malt and roasty flavors of this smooth, dark lager.

SECOND PLACE:  20 - Twain's Billiard & Tap blended a one-year-old Brown Ale aged on oak, ten pounds of cherries and a smidgen of Brettanomyces with another batch aged for only two months. Brewer Jordan Fleetwood says this complex beer "…should be funky, but intentionally funky."

21 - Victory Brewing's Hop Wallop, a very hoppy ale packed with European whole hop flowers and pilsner malts, shines with loads of aromatic splendor and bitter beauty. Comes in at 19 Plato, 8.5 % ABV and over 70 IBUs.



Click here for Owen Ogletree's tips on conditioning and serving a real cask ale.
Click here for details on our next Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting.


PHOTOS FROM THE 2010 ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING:



2010 judges L-R: Kerri Allen, Larry Johnson, Will Nance,
Phil Farrell & Chris Collier.


The other half of the 2010 judges L-R: Owen Ogletree,
Dean Graves, Don Beistle & Christina Collier.


Gail "Ms. Hophead" Graves did an outstanding job as steward.


Judges discuss aroma, appearance, flavor and finish of each beer.


5 Seasons braces for the ACAT crowd.


Volunteers prepare to pour the cask ales.


Eric Johnson (on right) from Trappeze Pub in Athens, GA.


The hard part is deciding which cask ale to sample first


The cold weather forced Dan Rosen to try using a rubber
chicken as a scarf!


Each cask ale offered a unique set of aromas & flavors.


5 Seasons' Kate & Kevin sell raffle tickets for Haiti relief.


Jeff Rapp pours a sample of Terrapin Dark Side.


Charlie & Sachin from Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens, Georgia.


Terrapin brewer & co-owner Brian "Spike" Buckowski.


Sarah  (from Trappeze) shares a toast with the Beer Wench.


  The Buddy O'Reilly band served up outstanding Celtic tunes.


Julie Baggett continues to volunteer even after she lost an
eye to a stray spile (just kidding).


Lynn from Beer Connoisseur Magazine (right) discusses
issue number one with a reader.


Cask ale brings out the best people.


The crowd had a delightful time.


Adam Tolsma (left) of Greens Package Stores poses with Darren Quinlan from He'Brew/Shmaltz Brewing.


Kevin, Kerri and Eric solve the world's problems
over a glass of cask ale.


Pasha pours a Duck-Rabbit Cherry Madness sample.


Owen seals up the empty casks at the end of the tasting.


The sun sets on another fantastic Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting.

America's Oldest Beer Magazine

            





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