Cask Days 2018

This was my fifth Cask Days. I knew no one when I went to my first one. I was solo and anxious like only an introvert can be in a new social situation. I didn’t know what to expect, what to drink, what to say. 

I spent the money for a guided tasting of the British casks with Stephen Beaumont, then spent a few hours getting drunk with actors. I ran into Andy, a former teaching colleague. I drank lots of great beer, and talked to so many people my voice was hoarse. It became my favourite beer festival.

Dennis, Robin and Sarah. I see them every Cask Days,
and we catch up like there wasn’t a year since our last conversation.

Unlike the first one I went to, I did not make extensive lists or highlight cask printouts. I didn’t plan what to drink in advance. I did not go with any plans or notions. 

I went with the big plan to see my friends, and have a beer or two. I may have had more than “or two” but I certainly got a chance to hang out with a lot of my brewer friends. Other than the ongoing gastro-intestinal issue, it was pretty close to a perfect day. The sun was shining (I think), and the casks I tried were pretty spot on; there was one exception, but isn’t there always? I stayed away from sours because my body told me to, but it said nothing about abstaining from stouts! My faves were made by two of my favourite people: Jen at DDC with Aphrodisiaque and Aaron at Merit with a Chai imperial stout that was good enough to have seconds.

There was a sad note however. Every Cask Days, I had a chance to catch up with Andy over a beer. He had proudly been to every Cask Days celebration, and I always looked forward to the chance to sit and talk music, beer and politics with him. He was one of my biggest champions when the school and I parted ways, and he did a send-off speech at the staff end-of-year lunch that made me laugh and cry. But cancer won this year, and even though we only talked once a year, I miss him. It does not seem the same without him.

Cask Days 2017 by the numbers

Amsterdam’s El Jaguar tasted so good I had 2.

This year I bought the Baller Pass, which got me into all the sessions. The 12-hour shifts at Brunswick were such that I missed every beer festival I wanted to go to, so I decided to splurge. I couldn’t make it to all of the sessions; I was getting sick and went home just before the end of the Saturday afternoon session. There was way too much going on for a full write up, so here are the basic numbers:

  • Number of sessions attended: 3
  • Favourite session: 1
  • Number of tokens bought: 36
  • Number of tokens left at the end: 0. This does not include the 5 leftover from last year. I only found them today, 3 days after the event. Sigh.
  • Number of beers tried: 51, +/- 5
  • Number of ciders tried: 3
  • Number of IPA/DIPA tried: 0
  • Number of pour-outs: 2. 1 was super oxidized and the other was just bad.
  • Number of seconds: 2
    • El Jaguar by Amsterdam was incredible this year
    • Cassis 2017 by Culmination in Oregon was a lovely sour with black currants.
  • Number of glasses water drank: not enough
  • Number of brewers and friends hugged: too many to count
  • Number of days until the next one: 350-ish

Lost of dead casks by the time I left on Saturday.