Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ladies Beer League Cask Event - November 17, 2013

I could not make the cask event as I was unfortunately on a boat in the Caribbean ;) I did asked my friend Krista Spurr to cover this event for the Maritime Beer Report and I think she did a great job. Thanks Krista.


I’m a recent beer enthusiast, however, my formal beer knowledge consists of “I like it!” or “I don’t like it!” To improve this dire situation, I’ve been attending Ladies Beer League events in Halifax since the summer, made some friends with more learned beer drinkers, and I’ve learned one thing: supporting local craft beer is an awful lot of fun.

On an otherwise dreary Sunday afternoon, ladies and dudes took over the upper level at the Stubborn Goat, Halifax’s newest gastropub, to experience Cask Fest. And what great fun it was!

A terrific selection of craft brews, mostly from Nova Scotia, greeted us. Attendees were given handy passports-ballots. You check off each of the seven beers on offer as the afternoon wore on, and the eighth sample was obtained by presenting your completed passport to your favourite beer.
The Stubborn Goat has only been open for about a month, but it’s already a favourite. Warm lighting, a spacious interior full of cozy spaces, and a food menu that is divine. They have a terrific selection of beers, including plenty of local craft brew options, which made it an ideal setting for Cask Fest.

In the spirit making good choices, my friend and I made a strategic decision to drink lightest to darkest. As best as we could tell the lighter beers from the darker ones, with no cask beer knowledge to rely on:
1.     Propeller Brewing Dry-hopped IPA

2.     Bridge Brewing Belgian Apricot IPA

3.     Boxing  Rock Brewing English Brown Ale

4.     Hell Bay Brewing Dark Cream Ale

5.     Big Spruce Brewing Glenora-infused Cereal Killer Stout

6.     Picaroons Brewing Smoked Porter

7.     Garrison Brewing Winter Warmer

Even through it was the middle of a Sunday afternoon, the crowd was lively. The Stubborn Goat’s space was really ideal for moving around, grabbing a seat and chatting, or just leaning on the bar. Throughout the afternoon, the merriment was on the rise as the beer flowed. I learned a little bit and enjoyed a lot. Like the hint of apricot on the nose of Bridge Brewing’s Belgian Apricot IPA. The rich creaminess of Hell Bay’s Dark Cream Ale. The little bit of patience required to enjoy the hearty stout from Big Spruce, because warming up the glass brought out the Glenora whisky. Garrison’s Winter Warmer was a welcome strong beer companion for a chilly November afternoon. In short, there was a lot to love.
When the weather changes, I usually move from my white wine and summery beers to a steady routine of dark, heavy red wines, leaving beer off the schedule until the first sun of spring. I think a lot of this is because I simply don’t know much about more complex beers, which made Cask Fest an ideal experience for someone like me.

Later in the afternoon, it was time to choose my eighth sample and cast my vote. The preceding seven samples had fuelled plenty of spirited conversation at my table, but in the end, I went with the beer that left the biggest impression: Hell Bay Brewing’s Dark Cream Ale. It was a nice balance of flavours, hearty but not overwhelming, rich, but just enough.

For more information about the Ladies Beer League, check them out on Twitter or like their Facebook page find out about upcoming events. For more information about what I eat, drink, see and do, visit me at http://bitesizedtravel.ca.

Krista Spurr
Twitter: @krisp131 and @bitesizedtravel