Back on Sept. 1st, 2013 we attended Caskapalooza at CRAFT Beer Market, in Calgary, AB. This was, as the name suggests, a gathering of special one-off casks for guests to sample. The $20 fee was very reasonable and included a pour from each cask. The breweries that took part were Big Rock Brewery, The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, Tool Shed Brewing Company,Village Brewery, Brew Brothers Brewery and Wild Rose Brewery.
Here is a rundown of what we were able to try (Click on full description for the cask sheet supplied by each brewery):
- Big Rock Brewery – Strange Brew: dark ale with chocolate and coffee malt. Conditioned for two weeks and cask hopped with Cascades. (Full Description)
- The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company – I.P.A.: IPA w/ Hibiscus flowers blended with the hops with a very nice rose color. (Full Description)
- Tool Shed Brewing Company – People Skills Cream Ale: cream ale infused with pineapple at the cask. The beer ran through what looked like a water filter crammed full of fresh pineapple. (Full Description)
- Brew Brothers Brewery – Black Pilsner: dry hopped and infused with coffee and vanilla beans. (Full Description)
- Wild Rose Brewery – I.P.A.: I.P.A. infused with white currants and Sorachi Ace Hops. (Full Description)
- Village Brewery – Indian Session Saison: Mosaic and Centennial hops with Belgian yeast. (Full Description)
- Steigl – Radler Zitrone: A blend of Steigl Goldbrau and Gaudi lemonade. Perhaps not a craft beer or a cask but this Austrian beer is exclusive to Craft Beer Market in Canada and it was nice for people to be able to try it. (Full Description)
We have been to several events at CRAFT over the last year or so and I think that this was both the best run event and the best priced event. Congratulations to the team over at CRAFT Beer Market for a job well done. We really appreciated having glassware to drink from and not having to sip from plastic, it makes a huge difference! There were plenty of glasses so you could easily exchange your glass for a new one when it was time to try another beer, again very much appreciated and nessecary in order to get the proper flavors in each pour.
Keep an eye out for cask events near you. It is a great opportunity to try special beer that brewers have made. Sometimes it will be flavors that you never thought would be in a beer, perhaps it will be flavors that you always hoped would be in a beer. No matter what cask you get to try, you will be one of only a few that will ever have the chance to try it. Get out there and try some new beer each week, expand your palate and increase your range of favorite beer types. You will be surprised how your taste buds can and will change.
In closing, casks are generally a local beer and handmade just for a small group of people. They often do not last more than a few hours (or in some cases minutes) after they are tapped. If you get a hold of a pint from a freshly tapped cask, you should feel honored, take your time and enjoy each sip from your pint glass.