Dateline, Brooklyn. For those of you who haven't seen me on my regular barstool (I have been missed, haven't I?) I am at the 4th Williamsburg Cask Beer Festival. The event is at the Williamsburg location of D.B.A. and is taking place 7 - 9 January 2011. It's my first festival of the year. There are 16 firkins of beer from the United States but England and Wales are represented as well. The lowest ABV is 4.2 from Elland, England going by the name "Beyond the Pale" and made with American Cascade hops. Two Pennsylvania beers are on deck and they are impressive in their strength. Blue Canoe Aged Wheat Wine from Titusville is pulling at 11.5% and Black Magick from Voodoo is on top at 15.5% ABV. Those guys in Meadville really know how to make a Russian Imperial Stout. It was also NOT aged in oak barrels. And no, my spell heck is not broken, it is spelled Magick.
This festival was put on by Alex Hall from Brooklyn. The one thing I liked about all this was that all the beers have the ABV listed. Most bars in New York City also dispay the ABV. I for one would like to know what I am drinking and when you have a 15% beer in you glass yu should know about it. The festival is operated with a mix of the English way and the American way. Entry is free and you just buy the beer you want to drink. But you had a choice in glass size you wanted. Gleaases came in 10, 16 and 20 ounce size and cost was typically $4, $7 or $8, respectively. The real high strength brews were adjusted some what in blass size or cost.
The Friday evening seeion was great as I got there before most eveyone else and it wasn't too bad that evening. Saturday afternoon was another story. It was packed and with only one batender it made for a long waite for a refill. As this bar does not do food a food service was put in place for the Saturday session. As it is Sunday morning as I write this I don't know what it will be like this afternoon. Still, it was great to see the interest in cask ale. I don't know if most of th4 people here came in to see what this was all about or if they have been drinking cask ale before. I have to think they are here as they aa their cask affection goes way back. A lot of bars in metro New York have at least two beer engines and demand is here.