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Beer #49 – February 18, 2010: Colonel Blide’s

February 18, 2010

Beer: Colonel Blide’s Cask Ale

Brewery: Cricket Hill Brewing Company, Fairfield, New Jersey

Style: Bitter

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $1.49 / bottle

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Glass mug

Strength: 5.5 % ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: A tasty, moderately hoppy, but not overly bitter, approachable, easy to drink beer.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Hazy, orange marmalade hue with a frothy, off-white head.

Aroma: Herbal hop aroma with a hint of lemon and pine.

Mouthfeel: Lots of tiny bubbles of carbonation give this beer both a creamy and slightly sharp mouthfeel.

Taste: While a true “Bitter” is a traditional English served from a cask, I’ll look past any style guidelines here, and simply enjoy this hazy, hoppy American brew.  There are definitely some American hops in here (the orangey citrus and pine flavors give it away) but also some herbal, earthy notes, that means there are probably traditional English hops (Fuggles and East Kent Goldings) in here as well.  And while hoppy, this beer is not overly bitter, with hop flavor and aroma, but not much of the tannic acidity, coming through.  There is some doughy, biscuit flavor of malt that comes through, and a touch of tart and sweet orange marmalade.

Pairing: Makes me wish I had fish & chips.

Trivia: OK, we’ll forgive Cricket Hill for the misnaming on the bottle… a real “cask ale” comes directly from a cask, not a bottle, is naturally carbonated, unpasteurized, served at cellar temperature, and pumped by hand into a glass.   While cask ales are sometimes called “warm and flat” by beer drinkers who only know force-carbonated beers served ice-cold, they are actually simultaneously very drinkable session beers and complex and interesting living ales.  American brewers have recently come to embrace this ancient, original method of carbonating, storing and serving beer.

Eric Asimov, the wine, spirits and beer writer for the New York Times, featured a great article on the cask ale Renaissance back in 2007.   You can read all about it here.  And check out the website of Alex Hall, the British-born, now NYC-based, cask ale expert for listings of upcoming cask ale festivals throughout the greater New York area and beyond.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2010 9:08 am

    Keith, You are dead- on with your rules for a true cask ale! Well done!

    As you know, Cricket Hill beers are specifically designed to adhere to our”gateway”
    philosophy. That is, all our beers are as gentle in style as can be while still maintaining the full flavor of the style. Our Colonel Blide’s is no exception. We first brewed it as a true cask served through an engine only, but to bottle it as a gateway, we chilled and carbonated it from 1.6 volumes to 2.3 volumes of Co2. This way our drinkers can savor the footprint of a true English bitter without the magic of a “warm & Flat” reaction. In a perfect world, when someone wants to try a new style of beer they will always try Cricket Hill first as an introduction to the style! Congratulations on your YEAR OF BEER and Thank you for enjoying our Colonel Blide’s.

    Rick

    • February 21, 2010 11:02 pm

      Rick, I certainly enjoyed your beer from the bottle, but would love to try the true cask version sometime. Last year, Cloverleaf Tavern had your excellent cask porter on hand for Father’s Day… honestly, among the best porters I’ve ever tasted! Any idea when and where this might be available again?

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