Blog by Nigel Walsh


Fest Report – 6th Annual Cask Ales FUNdraiser at The Brewers Collective

This place is getting very familiar to me.

My fourth visit in a little over two years and my second visit in under two months.

This was the Brewers Collective sixth annual fundraiser for the benefit of The Barton Center for Diabetes Education with beer and raffles and good music and good vibes …

… as you can well see from the title photo.

I had no action plan for this one, I just wandered over to the nearest cask and got stuck in.

I then did a couple of rinse and repeats before coming up for air and scoping out the set-up.

There were about a dozen pins lined up along the bar with standing, walking and sitting room to its right as you went in.

Past the bar, in the corner by the dartboard there was a space dedicated to two of the Long Island homebrew clubs, with four casks of which two were ciders, and a handful of drafts.

Finally, opposite the homebrewers was a strong high table set up with four firkins.

Bathrooms and band space beyond.

In the front of the brewing space behind the taproom, there were tables of all kinds of goods and goodies, waiting to be raffled off.

Checking the cask labels as I went walkabout, I was delighted to see that there were no killer barleywines or imperial stouts present, it would make my job, or at least the going home part, much easier.

In fact, with the exception of a couple of DIPAs at around the 7.5% mark, most of the consumables were on average a very reasonable 5.5% I would guess.

There was a wide range of styles with maybe the hazy IPA being a little more prevalent, but there was not much in it.

There were only three dark beers, a porter, a stout and a black IPA, but there was no shortage of brews in other colors, pink, yellow, orange and indeed, green.

There were four ciders, one mead, one root beer, and a marvelous graf from North Fork Brewing that would turn out be my second favorite of the afternoon.

Top place honors went to the “Mild on the Run” international mild from homebrewer Kevin McKenna of the Handgrenades Homebrew Club, who explained to me that he went out looking for some fine English malt and some Fuggles but was only able to get hold of PNW hops and Belgian grains at his local homebrew supply shop, so he improvised. He did brilliantly!

In contrast to the prior event at TBC this past December with its heavy and sweet holiday-themed brews, this event seemed to be looking forward to Spring already, just like the rest of us.

Whether by choice, coincidence or fiat, most of the brews were light-bodied with any additives being fruity and floral and herbal in nature, with a couple actually mimicking cocktails.

The No Request Band were absolutely fantastic, to the extent that several times I found myself not focusing on the beer, and just leaned against the wall nodding my head and mouthing the lyrics; their extended version of Down by the River had me hunched over and shuffling around like old Neil himself. It was all I could do, not to pull out the air guitar.

And then there was the food.

As usual, I didn’t indulge myself, but there were two food trucks parked up outside, churning out amazing-looking and amazing-smelling burgers and BBQ.

There were a couple of guys early on in the event, parked at one of the tables with massive piles of meat in front of them, very slowly eating as if they were being paid to sit there and make all of our mouths water.

I ended up sampling all of the casks, 21 in all, but at about 3oz per pour on average, it only came out to around 3-4 imperial pints overall (just like a regular JWF session), so I was able to head home quite early, easily make all of my connections, and have an uneventful return trip to the city…

… until I strolled out of Penn Station and found that somebody had stolen the Hotel Pennsylvania.

What is that all about?

Scorecard w/e 01/23/24

In the past week, The Cask Whisperer has enjoyed the following casks:

  • Dutchess Mizmaze ESB @ Jones Wood Foundry
  • Old Glenham Weavers Pale Ale @ Jones Wood Foundry

And has sampled the following casks at the 6th Annual Cask Ales FUNdraiser:

And has also sampled the following homebrewer casks at the 6th Annual Cask Ales FUNdraiser:

  • Handgrenades Homebrew Club (Kevin McKenna) “Mild on the Run” International Mild @ The Brewers Collective
  • Handgrenades Homebrew Club (Michael Gallagher) “Whip It!” Honey Wheat IPA @ The Brewers Collective
  • Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (Barbara) “Zombie” Cranberry Apple Cider @ The Brewers Collective
  • Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (Kyle) “When in Tulum” Spicy Margarita Cider @ The Brewers Collective

Upcoming Cask Festivals

2/3/2024: Strong Rope 8th Caskiversary

3/24/24: An Afternoon of Casks at Nod Hill Brewing, Ridgefield CT

3/30/2024: Cask.On at Cask & Vine, Derry NH

4/10/2024 – 4/13/2024 (5 sessions): 25th Annual New England Real Ale Exhibition (NERAX)

11/8/2024: Two Roads Cask Fest

11/9/2024: 20th Annual Blue Point Cask Ale Festival

NYC Cask Venues

Known Operational/Active Beer Engines

  • Jones Wood Foundry (x2)
  • Fifth Hammer
  • Wild East
  • The Shakespeare (x3)
  • The Grand Delancey (x2)
  • Cask Bar & Kitchen
  • Drop-off Service
  • Spuyten Duyvil

Occasional Pins (worth a follow on Instagram)

  • Strong Rope
  • KCBC
  • Torst

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