One of my favorite small time beer fests is almost upon us — the Long Island Nano Cask Ale Festival.
Sponsored by Rocky Point Artisan Brewers, this Jan. 26 festival features a small group of small brewers pouring unique brews in a cozy venue, the North Shore Beach Owners Club House in Rocky Point. To keep it comfortable organizers plan to sell only 150 tickets. The festivities start at 3 p.m.
It’s an opportunity to sample exciting local brews—many of them one offs brewed especially for this event —without having to elbow your way to the tap.
What makes this event special is that the brews are served from casks with natural carbonation rather than forced carbonation. Our friends across the Atlantic call cask beers “Real Ale” and it was the traditional way of serving beer until forced carbonation came along. To the uninitiated, that’s why British beers have a reputation for being warm and flat. To be honest, these beers are neither. A cask beer generally is served at cellar temperature and, if done right, can be downright creamy and flavorful.
To be sure, there’s always disagreement among beer aficionados about which beers are best suited to be served on cask. British-style beers and some Belgians work best, to my taste. Those extreme beers with tons of hops just don’t work. They need the carbon dioxide to offset all that bitterness.
In addition to the host brewery, other participants include Barrage Brewiing, Blind Bat Brewery, Ghost Cat Brewing, Great South Bay Brewing, Greenpoint Harbor Brewing, Montauk Brewing, Port Jeff Brewing and Spider Bite Brewing. Also, Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts, a local home brew club will be pouring various homebrews, including an expresso-flavored cider from award-winning home brewer Bobby Rodriguez and Frank Filacchione’s rauch beer.
Among the commercial offerings lined up are a vanilla smoked porter from Spider Bite, which also will pour an India pale ale brewed with a new hop variety, Belma (described as having tropical citrus notes).
Blind Bat, meanwhile will pour a sweet potato saison, while the new Montauk Brewing Co. is bringing what it calls an eastbound brown ale fermented with espresso beans from Hampton coffee company
Port Jeff Brewing will be bringing a birch stout and a version of Schooner Ale flavored with cherries.
Barrage Brewing will have two casks: Ravens Shadow, an oaked rum raisin porter, which I believe they poured at last year’s nano fest, and FairyTale Red Hop Ale, an Irish red ale dry hopped with Amarillo and citra hops.
Tickets, $40 each, include a tasting glass, unlimited beer samples and live music. Crazy Beans, of Miller Place, and Bite Me Cakes, of Sound Beach, will supply the eats. This year, as an added feature there will be a farmer’s market taking place, where produce will be available for purchase and growlers of beer will be sold during the final hour of event.
For tickets go to Rocky Point’s web site.