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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bluepoint Hoptical Illusion Cask Night May 14th 2010



HOPTICAL ILLUSION

This classic American style IPA features a rare hop exclusively grown on a farm in Oregon. One taste of the Hoptical Illusion and you’ll know why Blue Point bought the entire crop. A generous amount of the select hop balances out malty backbone of this delicious golden beer. Offered in six packs and on draft, Hoptical Illusion is tantalizing the tastebuds of beer lovers from Montauk to Manhattan.
Technical Description:
1.060 OG and 60 IBUs
Alc% 6.3 by volume

Friday, May 14th, 2010 is our next cask beer night at Aroma Thyme. We are featuring Hoptical Illusion.

Cask beer is one of the biggest trends in the craft beer world. This is real beer from a local brewery that is put in a cask without filtering & without added carbonation. It's the real deal in beer.

The cask gets tapped at 3pm and is served until? We never know when the cask is going to kick.
The Defiant Brewing Company exists to bring high-quality, craft-brewed beer to the tri-state area ― that’s our mission, in a nutshell.

Everyday, they strive to create outstanding ales and lagers, challenge the conventions of mass advertised and mass-produced beers, and offer a unique production micro-brewery experience to our customers.

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CASK-CONDITIONED BEER ('REAL ALE') IN THE U.S.A.
What exactly is real ale?
Cask-conditioned beer, often referred to as 'real ale', is brewed from only traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally.

The unfiltered, unpasteurized beer still contains live yeast, which continues conditioning the beer in the cask (known as 'secondary fermentation'); this process creates a gentle, natural CO2 carbonation and allows malt and hop flavors to develop, resulting in a richer tasting drink with more character than standard keg ('brewery-conditioned') beers.

Real ale is always served without any extraneous gas, usually by manually pulling it up from the cellar with a handpump (also known as a 'beer engine'). This is the traditional way of brewing and serving beer; only a few decades ago did filtered, pasteurized, chilled beer served by gas become normal.

The only place in the world where cask-conditioned beer is still commonly available is Britain.
Is there much difference to keg beer?
Keg beers are generally sterile filtered and pasteurized as part of the brewing process. This kills the yeast, preventing any further conditioning, and the beer is then racked into sealed, gas-pressurized kegs. Such beers generally taste blander than their cask-conditioned counterparts, and the use of flash-chillers or cold rooms (*very* cold!) is standard as part of the serving process. That said, some microbrewers rack cask beer into kegs - though these are usually served with extraneous gas.

In many common brands of keg beer, cheap ingredients ('adjuncts') such as rice or maize are mixed with the malt to cut costs, but resulting in a 'light' beer with hardly any aroma or flavor. Chilling and the absorption of extraneous gas jointly mask the lack of flavor - with carbon dioxide you get an unnaturally fizzy pint; with nitrogen (or mixed gas with a larger nitrogen ratio) you get a pint with an unnaturally smooth and creamy head - either way these beers are always refreshing but usually taste of very little. Micro-breweries generally avoid the use of cheap adjuncts, so their keg products usually taste far superior to the nationally available brands. Also, all beers imported from Germany are required by that country's laws to be free of non-traditional ingredients.

I'm not criticizing all keg beers, simply outlining the often little-known qualities of real ale by comparison. There are many really tasty ales which are 'keg' (but plenty more which aren't tasty!), though well-kept cask versions of the same brands would undoubtedly be found to be even more flavorsome if compared side-by-side.
But keg beer is 'normal' -
what's it got that real ale hasn't?
Keg beers have a much longer shelf life, especially when compared to a partially full cask. Real ales have to be manually vented and tapped, and left to settle (or the customer gets a cloudy pint due to the presence of yeast and protein - though harmless if drunk like this). Also, real ale will start to taste of vinegar (known as 'oxidising') if left in a part-full cask for too long. This is caused by acetic acid forming from a reaction with oxygen in the atmosphere.

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