Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Tradition Continues at General Sutter Inn

While we're counting down the hours to Philly Beer Week's real ale festival, I'll pass along some notes here from Paul Pendyck, the host of monthly Cask Ale Night in Lititz, PA. If you haven't made it to the General Sutter Inn yet for one of the last Fridays of the month tastings, you owe it to yourself and the tradition of real English ale.
1st Anniversary of Cask Night! That's right, one year of cask nights. I am sure you will agree we have had some great beers. Last month was a great success, we moved into the ballroom and I am sure you will agree the extra space was a necessity. Also, repeating the beers gave some of you the opportunity to realise the beauty of real ale. A friend of mine, Ray Daniels, who used to organise the Real Ale Festival in Chicago and was a true pioneer of real ale in the US, wrote an interesting paper entitled "The Perfect Pint". The pretense is that because real ale is constantly changing there will be times that you manage to catch cask ale at its peak condition and have that perfect pint. It is a fleeting moment. In January, for me, Ridgeway was a perfect pint. This month after spending another 3-4 weeks in the cask it had lost its edge. It was still superb but not quite as good. That isn't to say that less time in the cask is always better, it depends on the strength of the beer and how it is kept. In fact, for someone else maybe the extra month improved the Ridgeway. Anyway, less rambling. This month to celebrate our anniversary we are doing three things: 1. Meet the brewer. Steve Jones, Oliver's Brewer will be here featuring Anniversary Best Bitter, OG 1043, 4.3% ABV. This is an exact replica of the first beer Steve brewed 14 years ago and is the first time it has been brewed in the US. Using Maris Otter pale ale malt, roasted barley, crystal malt and malted wheat. Hops include East Kent Goldings and Fuggles for bittering and East Kent Goldings for the finish. It is a smooth, well balanced Amber bitter, nice body with a lingering Kent Goldings finish. Steve will also be bringing "Red Flag Ale", OG 1046, 4.4% ABV. Malts used - Halcyon pale ale malt, crystal, dark crystal, chocolate malt, torrefied wheat and amber malt. Bittering hops - Challenger and 1st Gold. Finishing - Bramling Cross and 1st Gold. The malt really asserts itself in this brew with the hops providing balance. Deep red/brown in colour with the crystal and chocolate malt providing hints of toffee and licorice, finishing with a slight sweetness. 2. The first 48 people will get a commemorative pint glass marking the occasion. 3. I will be going to England on a research trip. Have a great time. Sorry to miss it but the Liverpool-Everton game is too big a draw. Paul Pendyck Cask-conditioned beers, often referred to as "real ale", are brewed from only traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally. This allows the rich flavours of malt and hops to be fully experienced. For more information on cask ale visit Cask Ale Info. Join me for good cheer and good company. Be a part of an exciting new tradition in downtown Lititz. Cask Ale Friday takes place on the last Friday of every month at the General Sutter Inn in downtown Lititz.

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