Before I was standing on a Brooklyn rooftop looking at the Manhattan skyline at night, before I was running to the beer store with my boys, and before I was sniffling while watching football today, I was at Get Real NY’s Cask Beer event at the Altman Building from 5-8pm Saturday evening.
I was impressed, NYC! The turnout involved more than just beer geeks, and the event was pretty much an open bar free for all, but the beer kept flowing. From girls in cocktail dresses to the dudes with tirebellies (technical term, saves more beer for later), all of NYC’s beer appreciation population was out.
There were some top100’s present at the event. Cigar City Brewing sent their Marshal Zhukov, which is the same as the Hunapu’s old recipe and was available for VIP’s or anyone if you found the right bartender. Stone had their IPA, and Bear Republic (Beer Republic?) sent Hop Rod Rye. Plus about 80 others, all on cask, all for the masses.
It started with a hefty line, and lowered expectations. I waited for my 3 friends, the line started to move. I was already expecting to have to elbow guys just to get a pour. By the time the tickets were taken and ID’s were checked though, it was very apparent that the only thing that I’d have to fight for was the food. I never got the mac n cheese, and the rest weren’t vegetarian options, except for Beer Corn, which was… amazing. So I was looking at pretty much a beer-only carbfest.
As I entered the space, it reminded me of a high school gymnasium. But in the center where the basketball court would usually be, there was instead a 4-tiered 50 foot by 20 foot rectangle of 2×4’s supporting all the casks. In front was a ring of tables, and in between them and the casks were loads of bartenders waiting to serve you brews. No tip jars, no waiting. Just walk up, say a beer, get a beer. Fantastic system. The music played, we drank, appreciated what other finger food was available, took notes like geeks, and tried to act pretentious enough to justify spending that money on a beerfest.
There were lots of great breweries, but for me, Cigar City stole the Saturday show. Although Troegs didn’t get a fair fight (I think they came out Sunday), Cigar City’s Peach, Guava, and Maduro were all fantastic. I wanted to give the Peach IPA higher than an A+; I think they must have extorted a peach farm and put its entire yearly output in that cask.
End of it all I’m sitting here with my beer cold, but a quite full heart. Thanks GetRealNY!