THE CASK WHISPERER
Blog by Nigel Walsh
Up the Creek …
In which our intrepid explorer goes off the rails, and then goes up the creek.
Well, to be more precise, I took to the East River twice this past week, to get to breweries in Brooklyn from the upper east side of Manhattan, taking the NYC Ferry on both occasions.
I am fortunate that I live pretty close to the ferry stop at East 90th street, and that two separate lines run from here; the Soundview express service to Wall Street (with transfers to the rest of the world), and the Astoria local service which winds back and forth across the river, providing access to many breweries in both Queens and Brooklyn… with a little exercise generally involved.
Swimming to Gowanus
So, Sunday before last, after a cask-free week in Florida, I was desperate to get back on my rounds and decided to check in on Wild East Brewing over at Gowanus. My gateway to that part of Brooklyn, and pretty much all parts of Brooklyn, is the ferry terminal at Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has the added bonus of the onsite Transmitter Brewing for a quick one on the way back.
From the Navy Yard it is a short (well, longish) stroll over Fort Greene to the Atlantic Terminal, Park Slope and Gowanus.
Arriving at Wild East shortly after opening time, I was expecting to have the place to myself; whereas the usual Manhattan brunch begins early in the morning on weekends, most Brooklynites would not usually be seen dead before 1:30pm on a Sunday.
It was not empty, it was mobbed! I found myself in the middle of a party for a local running club, but fortunately there was space at the bar for me, and although I should have felt a little out of place among the athletes, I knew that most would have arrived via Uber (they were dressed in their Sunday finest), while I at least had that short (well longish) stroll over Fort Greene.
I was very happy to see that the available cask was the awesome Prudence light mild (a 3.8% wonder), and that this particular cask had been conditioned with brettanomyces yeast, giving it a nice subtle funk, and adding back in a little bitterness at the finish.
Having previously sampled their Moderance bitter and Temperance dark mild in brett form, I can vouch that Wild East have a fine touch with their brett-conditioned casks; the brett enhances without overpowering the delicious base beers.
After three pints and a couple of other drafts, I set off home again; another short (well longish) stroll back over Fort Greene, and a swift pint in Transmitter before getting back on the water.
Paddling to Red Hook
This past Saturday, I felt a great disturbance in the force.
I learned through Instagram that Strong Rope were celebrating the second anniversary (is it only two years?) of their Red Hook brewery and tap room, and although they did not announce any casks in that post, I just had a feeling…
I took the lazy route this time; no walking from the Navy Yard to Red Hook for me, it was just too hot. Instead, I took the express ferry and changed to the South Brooklyn route at Wall Street Pier 11.
Regardless, I still arrived at the tap room with a healthy sheen (sweating like the proverbial) and was very happy to find that they had their Catty-Corner key lime gose on tap. It took three to cool me down before the much-anticipated pin arrived on the bar and was tapped.
And what a beauty it was too!
It was their amazing burton ale named Good Job, a 6.7% miracle that I had enjoyed enormously on two prior occasions, wondering how Jason had managed to capture the “burton snatch”, that sulfurous nose and taste much-loved by generations of Marston’s Pedigree fans.
This time it was also conditioned on brett (sensing a theme here), and it was just outrageous. No subtleness here, but a full-on horse-blanket funk which worked perfectly for this potent brew. This may be my favorite Strong Rope brew; they have something unique here.
I had two pints before heading home, and I can still taste it a day later… in a good way.
Well, I have prattled on enough this week.
Gotta run… I have my rounds to do.
Scorecard w/e 07/15/23
In the past week, The Cask Whisperer has sampled the following casks:
- Wild East Prudence w/Brett @ Wild East Brewery
- Dutchess Halcyon @ Jones Wood Foundry
- Fifth Hammer Unlicensed @ Jones Wood Foundry
- Strong Rope Good Job w/Brett @ Strong Rope Red Hook
Upcoming Cask Festivals
09/09/2023: 8th Annual Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Fest