Once in a blue moon, you go your local watering hole and try that special cask that has been Bourbon barrel aged with some herb you can’t say or spell. You have a wonderful, unique experience and talk about it for five years to all your friends. It gets seared in your brain that casks are immortal wonderful things that are so rare that they might as well be Big Foot or Nessie. The legend grows until one day you hear about Brew Your Cask Off and you can’t help yourself but buy a ticket. Who could resist not just one but 90 unique casks? C’mon it’s BYCO!
With BYCO now in the fall, I expected to see a ton of pumpkin beers and enjoy everyone of them. Now, there were some pumpkin beers but what I wasn’t expecting was that they weren’t too good. I’m all for pumpkin but don’t confuse it by adding coffee to it or add a whole tin of cinnamon. There was even one that tastes like they took all spice and put water in it. Literally. Uck! That being said, there were some good pumpkin beers, like a good, old fashion “Pumpkin Porter” by Muss and Turner. It was just a good, solid, rich porter with the right amount of pumpkin and brown sugar, It was my second favorite beer of the night.
Another staple of fall is Apple. If you know me, you know I’m not big on fruit in my beer. You can keep your strawberry/kiwi/banana/blueberry to yourself. That being said, there were two very good Apple spiced beer casks that were in my favorites of the festival. The first was called “Bourbon for Apples.” It tasted like a dark beer with hints of apples, sweetness and a Brandy (liquor) finish. I was actually surprised I liked this one as bourbon isn’t my favorite but when you combine with apple it was good. My favorite beer of the festival turned out to be an apple beer. SHOCKING! It was called “It’s like Warm Apple Pie” by Ormsby’s. It was the perfect mix of apple, sweet and felt like I was literally drinking apple pie but not as sweet with a slight beer aftertaste. Unfortunately, they didn’t win People’s Choice or get any judges awards. They still won in my mind though.
I wasn’t surprised at all by the People’s Choice Award winner: “The Musketeer Beer” by Cypress Street Pint & Plate. It was like drinking a candy bar but a little watery for me to really like. Bonus: they were giving out chocolate covered strawberries to pair with the beer. I think that helped the taste of the beer and was an ingenious idea. Also worth mentioning is they were handing out $5 off coupons for the restaurant, while being dressed as Musketeers. All that said, they were the best marketers of the night with their food pairing, promotional materials, and overall presence. It reminded me of the People’s Choice TV or Movie Awards, where whoever the most popular and did the best marketing would win. Don’t get me wrong, they did a great job but I wish the beer was a little better.
The three that won from the judges I didn’t even try. I know, bad, Liz but they were three that I wouldn’t have liked anyway. Why torture myself? The first place one was an IPA, which I don’t like. The second had Basil in it and I’m sorry but Basil shouldn’t ever be in a beer. Yuck. Finally, the third one was a pirate themed beer that I just never got to and don’t remember being on any list. That’s OK, I’m sure they are all good in their own right and I shouldn’t really judge them since I have no idea what they tasted like. If you tried any of these and liked them. What did you like about them? I’d like to know!
Thanks to Sweetwater and the BYCO team for the opportunity to enjoy some brews. It was a great experience. I especially enjoyed the Emergency Shower and it’s tribute to “Flashdance.” Maniac on the floor? Yes, I think I will !