Thursday, November 3, 2011

International Stout Day & IPA Cask-O-Rama - UPDATED!

Today I attended the 6th Annual IPA Cask-O-Rama at Beveridge Place Pub, but not until after I celebrated International Stout Day at Brouwer's Cafe

My Schooner of Old Rasputin Stout on Nitro

I kicked things off at Brouwer's Cafe with a North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Stout on Nitro.  Yum, yum!  I followed that up with a Left Coast Brewing Voodoo American Stout, which was also quite good.  I had lunch at Brouwer's too, but didn't have much else to drink there, since I knew I'd be heading for the Cask-O-Rama in a few hours. 

The casks all lined up on the bar

I arrived at Beveridge Place Pub rather early, since I know how crowded the place can get during this event.  I was glad I arrived early too.  By 5:00, a full hour before the Cask-O-Rama kick off, Bev. Place was getting pretty full.

The choices for this year's Cask-O-Rama

Everyone was looking over the selections, which had been placed out along with the taster trays for everyone to mark their selections for the servers.  And speaking of that, I'd like to give the servers at Beveridge Place a big thank you.  The place was, literally, packed; and with everyone ordering taster trays of 6 beers at a time, the servers were kept extremely busy, but they kept up and did a great job.  Thanks guys! 

My Cask-O-Rama taster tray

My taster tray consisted of the following choices:

  • Airways Steel Drum IPA
  • Elliott Bay Lake City Way IPA
  • Iron Horse Imperial IPA
  • North Sound Hop Chop IPA
  • Port Townsend Hop Diggity IPA
  • Sound Humulo Nimbus IPA

They all had their particular charms, but my favorite of the choices on my tray was the Humulo Nimbus IPA by Sound Brewery.  It's the lower-right glass (#19) on the photo above of my taster tray.  It had a prominent hop nose and pleasantly assertive hop flavor with just enough malt and carbonation to back it up.  My #2 was the Iron Horse Imperial IPA and #3 was the Port Townsend Hop Diggity. 

Cask beers are generally served warmer and less-carbonated than usual.  In fact the Humulo Nimbus was fairly low on carbonation, as you can see by it's lack of head in the above photo.  But it had just enough carbonation to carry the aromas and flavors.  Unfortunately, there was one selection on my tray where the carbonation level was just too low.  The Lake City Way IPA from Elliott Bay might have been a good IPA, but its almost total lack of any carbonation provided no effervescence to carry the hop flavors or aromas well.  I usually like most Elliott Bay beers and I believe I know the brewer who created this batch, so I'm hoping it was just a packaging issue or a problem with this particular cask. 

Tonight was also the night that Beveridge Place announced the results of their 'Hoptoberfest' competition.  The winning beer will become their house IPA for the next year.  And the winning beer this year was....... (Drum roll, please!): Lucille IPA by Georgetown Brewing Company.  Congratulations to Georgetown Brewing! 

It was nice to start the day off rather quietly with a couple of stouts at Brouwer's for International Stout Day, where they hadn't gotten crowded at all yet, and then to finish things off at Beveridge Place, which was absolutely packed by the time I was getting ready to head home. 

I had a great day and I'm already looking forward to my next event, which will mostly likely be the arrival of Firestone Walker's XVth Anniversary Ale on November 14th.  It will be on tap at Brouwer's Cafe (which is rare - I'm really looking forward to it), and it should be available in bottle shops around the puget sound also starting on November 14th. 

 (Original post is below.)

 Today presents a unique but not at all unpleasant delima for me. 

On October 31st, I posted about the IPA Cask-O-Rama, starting today 6:00PM at Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle.  I'm still planning to attend that event, but after I learned about the Cask-O-Rama, I also learned that today, November 3rd has officially been decleared 'International Stout Day'

Now, while I am a definite hop-head and love, love, love my IPAs, I also have a deep appreciation for good stouts.  Some of my favorites include Firestone Walker's Parabola, North Coast's Old Rasputin (especially when I can find it on Nitro, as I did recently at Cooper's Alehouse), Guinness, when I want a lighter stout, and many, many others.

So, you can see my dilema.  What do I go for today: IPAs on cask or stouts?  The answer, of course, is obvious.  I'll have some of each!  I'm going to kick things off at Brouwer's Cafe by having a few stouts (they also have Old Rasputin on Nitro right now.) and then head over to Beveridge Place Pub for the Cask-O-Rama.  I may also make a stop on my way home at Super Deli Mart for a few more bottles of stout; they usually have some of my favorites in stock. 

So how will you be celebrating today?  Will you be paying homage to International Stout Day, to the IPA Cask-O-Rama or both?  Either way, if you hit up Brouwer's Cafe ealy today or Beveridge Place later on, you'll find me at the bar!

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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