It's always a pleasure to raise a pint with personable and knowledgeable beerscribes like Mark Haynie, Jeff Linkous and Jon Holl, which I did yesterday at the Uno's Cask fest. Mark comes all the way up from Somers Point to attend this event, but his beer travels are transcontinental, so for him this was a puddle-jump.
Brewer Mike Sella lined up a smaller-than-usual coterie of kegs to whet (and I guess "wet" works, too) the palates of cask ale lovers. Mike's solid Uno's Porter and delicious Scotch Ale was joined by two River Horse brews--Hop Hazard and brawnier cousin Hop-a-lot-amus. Weyerbacher had Hops Infusion on hand as well as Blithering Idiot, and Brooklyn's Six Point chimed in with Bengali IPA and Righteous Rye. Dave Hoffman's gold standard Nut Brown was on the hand pump.
As usual there was an ebb and flow to the crowd attending. It was sizable at noon when the event began, then thinned a bit as the first shift, sated, went home. The second shift filled it up again, and among those later caskers was Chris Flynn, owner of Metuchen's Hailey's Harp and Pub and his sidekick, Chef Johnny La Barbera. These guys, whose six-month old pub on Main Street is doing a land office business and who sell Dave Hoffman's Nut Brown as Hailey's Ale, were there to learn more about beer.
Members of the Old Bridge HS coaching staff were on hand to prove that their dedication to excellence doesn't end at the boundaries of the playing fields, gyms or mats. And it's always a plus to talk wrestling and beer with guys who know both.
In what might have been the most surprising attendee profile, two young gals in their early 20's, Chrissy and Jennifer from Rutgers U. were on hand to "sample the rack" (their words, not mine), and after chatting with them, I was surprised and happy to learn that they were also homebrewers. Hmmm. Maybe going to college is worthwhile after all?
Even erstwhile barman and beer dinner chef Moshe the Barman was on hand. He looks good and is still funny as hell.
After more than five hours of quaffing and hobnobbing, I started to feel guilty about the pile of yard work I left at home. So, emboldened by Mike's Scotch Ale, I called the missus and told her to do it.
I'm posting this from Kentucky as we speak.
Cheers till next time!