Cask Days 2015

Last year our first Cask Days beer festival was a revelation. So many amazing beer, at such a well-run event, made us incredulous that we’d never been to one. For the past 11.5 months we’d looked forward to the 2015 installment.

We just got home from #caskdays2015, and the fact that I can type probably tells you that it was a little less epic than last year’s. Granted, there was no post-festival Wvrst bottle tour like last year’s, but still. It wasn’t quite as epic as last year’s maiden voyage.

I mean, sure, there was great beer and excellent food, and it was almost shockingly well-run. But here was my major disappointment: they were holding back so much beer that I couldn’t try half of what I really wanted. This is what I tried, and what I tried to try:

  1. Burdock Peach & Apricot Berliner Weisse
  2. Niagara Oast Dr. Lychee Gose Nuts Gose
  3. Niagara Oast Verjus Fruit Sour Ale
  4. Dunham Saison du Pinacle Farmhouse Ale w. Fireweed Flowers
  5. Indie Alehouse Maple Cinnamon Belgian Wit
  6. Stone City Ales Devil and the Deep American Sour
  7. Parallel 49 Bodhisattva Dry Hopped Sour Ale
  8. Community Beer Works Frank APA
  9. Dunham APA w. Habanero Pepper
  10. Macleod Ale Jackie Tar Brown Stout
  11. Dieu Du Ciel Tamarindo German Gose
  12. Left Field Bricks & Mortar Porter w. Pilot Roaster Coffee
  13. Great Lakes x Bar Hop Sweet Zombie Jesus Milk Stout w. Peanut Butter
  14. Sawdust City Damn!!!!!!! Spicy Peanut Butter Imperial Stout
  15. Wellington Buggin’ Out Cab Franc Barrel Aged Sour Ale
  16. Ladyface Companie Ballista Imperial Grisette Aged in Viognier Barrels
  17. Amsterdam El Jaguar Barrel Aged Imperial Stout w. Chocolate & Chilies
  18. Howe Sound “Smoked” Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale w. Rum, Cacao & Vanilla
  19. House Ales Mezza Notte Espresso Milk Stout

So, yeah. Literally the first two beers I wanted were sold out. Or, rather, they were being “held back” for later sessions. I get that they’re trying to keep enough around for everyone, but I tried to get those two within seconds of entering the building, and I checked back a few times, so they were NEVER available for our session. That’s brutal.

Just before 5pm I went hunting for my 11th and final beer, and my last four choices were all off-limits. I gave up and ate some fried chicken instead.

So I ended up drinking a lot of sour beer on the day, which was fine, and one or two of them were tremendous (the Parallel 49 and Stone City especially), but GOD I wanted a heavy stout toward the end.

Frankly, the shot of espresso (from Boxcar Social) and fried chicken (from Brando’s fried chicken) were two of the best things I had all day, and the food program in general looked killer, so kudos to the festival for that. Also: military precision on the porta-potty line.

What I took from this, though, is that a) the Friday night session is the only good one, and everything else is a poor cousin; and b) you have to buy your way into one of the premium packages to get decent beer. I guess I’ll keep that in mind for next year, and see whether the price is justified.

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