On Saturday, October 21, 2017, I went to my third craft beer festival. The festival was called The 13th Annual Cask Days Beer Festival which took place at Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks. This years event had over 400 beers on cask. It also had local brewers participate from New York State, Maine, Oregon, Nova Scotia, PEI, British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. The festival also showcased Ciders, Homebrewers, Food vendors, and a line up of DJs to hype up the crowd.
Cask Conditional Ale: What is it?
Before I continue, I think it’s important that we understand what Cask Conditional Ale is. Firstly, it is beer served in a barreled shaped container that is either made out of wood or metal. Cask Toronto further explains that “Cask conditioned ale is beer that is brewed from traditional ingredients and matured in the cask from which it is served.” Another important thing to know about having a beer on cask is that the beer does not have that gassy carbonated taste that we are all used to when we get a beer poured on tap. I have learned that the reason for this is because there is no carbon dioxide or extra chemicals added to the barrel, and the fermentation time is short, therefore, you are tasting the most natural part of the beer. (If you want to know more information about Cask beer, check out the Cask Toronto blog).
How is Cask Beer Served?
The serving process of Cask beer is quite cool! You input the spout by hitting it with a hammer. Below is a video I found on Microbrasserie Trou du diable’s Instagram.
Video Credit by: Le Tou du Diable Microbrasserie
How awesome is that! I’m hoping one day during my beer adventures a microbrewery that I visit will let me hit the spout into the barrel with the hammer.
Beer Tasting Tips at a Festival
When you arrive at any beer festival there are two important essentials you must have.
1. You’re beer glass
2. The Beer list
This year, Cask Days beer glass was a mason jar. On the back of the glass were measurements of 5oz and 10oz so that the volunteers knew how much beer to pour. While I was waiting in line to enter the festival, there were some people in line complaining about the fact that the pamphlet they received did not have the full list of beers on it. I also noticed that people had brought with them the printed excel sheet that was offered on the cask days web page. It made me realize that I still hadn’t checked out what was available on cask. 400 beers to choose from is a lot! For the people in line who had their excel spreadsheets, they highlighted the beers they wanted to try. I quickly had to figure out a way to strategize how I was going to choose which beers I would taste. I started going through the list of beers on the web page, copied and pasted the ones that intrigued me and created a list of my own on my iPhone’s notepad app. As I was scrolling down through the cask list I noticed that there were already quite a few beers that were unavailable to try. The website mentioned that they were actively updating the website to let festival attendees know which beers were selling out. I feel like what would’ve made this process successful for Cask Days would’ve been for them to invest in an app developer to enable festival attendees to download an app on their phone to receive live updates of beers that were selling out or beers that were being added. Having the full list available a few days before the festival did out a lot, and if I decide to go again next year, I think I’ll take the time to prepare in advance which beers I want to taste to enjoy the festival more.
And the Winner Goes to *drum roll*
Photo Credit by: Marites Medina
On my list of beers to try, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would want to try an IPA. This style of beer is my least favourite to drink. IPA’s are very hoppy and often have a bitter aftertaste. Some people say that IPA’s taste like Grapefruit juice. What I do like about IPA’s is their description. On a beer menu, it reads like a beautiful story. Trou du Diable is a microbrewery from Shawingan, Quebec and at Cask Days, they were offering an “IPA with Organic cucumber, watermelon and Melon” called Capitaine Concombre (Which means Captain Cucumber in English). The aroma was gorgeous! You could really smell the cucumbers which made me feel happy because it reminded me of lying on a dock by the lake on a hot summers day. When I took a sip of the beer I was flabbergasted! There was absolutely no bitter aftertaste. In fact, there was no aftertaste at all. You could really taste the cucumbers and melon. I feel like I could’ve drunk the whole cask! Capitaine Concombre was the winner on my list of beers to try.
Stay tuned for more Beer Adventures.
I’m still new to the craft beer world, and I must say, I’m quite enjoying the adventures I’ve been going on with my boyfriend to discover new and delicious beers made from local and independent brewers. I’ve had the privilege to try beers from across Canada and the USA. The other two festivals I went to this year were The Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival during the winter and the Vermont Brewers Festival during the summer. Cask Days beer festival was the one I attended during the fall. I currently don’t have any planned festival visits for 2018. Do you have any suggestions on where my next beer adventure should be? Join me in the conversation below by telling me what your favourite beers are, or festival suggestions to attend.
Mmm Cask Beer! #Caskdays2017 #Munchkinzblog http://bit.ly/2yBow3J
Find out what I tried this year at the Cask Days Beer Festival on my latest blog post. http://bit.ly/2yBow3J
Cask Descriptions, (2017, October, 16) Cask Days Festival, Retrieved by https://caskdaysfestival.squarespace.com/caskdescriptions
What is Cask Ale? (n,d), Cask Toronto, Retrieved by https://casktoronto.wordpress.com/what-is-cask-ale/