It's the Mad Fox Cask Ale Festival, tomorrow, outside of brewpub Mad Fox, in downtown Falls Church, Virginia, from 11 am until 6 pm.
At its pub, Mad Fox serves at least three of its own cask ales at any time via beer engine. For the festival, it invited other local breweries to bring cask ales. Here's the line-up of 17 cask ales from 14 Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware breweries:
MAD FOXMason's Dark Mild
One of our extreme session beers, this dark roasty malt-accented beer is our lowest alcohol beer yet. This session ale is toffee and chocolate accented with just enough hops to keep the malt sweetness from getting cloying. Brewed with English malts and English Goldings hops, this classic English-style ale was born for the pub and your pint glass 3.3% alcohol-by-volume (abv).
Stir-About Oatmeal Stout
A traditional stout beer hand crafted with dark malts, and a heavy dose of roasted barley to give it its coffee-like finish. This full bodied stout will have a dry, malty, smooth body as a result of the addition of flaked oats. Lightly hopped with pleasant malty flavors, very bold flavors for the cold months ahead. 5% abv
Version four of the collaborative beer from the six breweries of the Brew Ridge Trail breaks new ground with a traditional Belgian-inspired Tripel ale turned uncharacteristically dark by the addition of de-husked black roasted malts. A deep mahogany brown/black color belies the smooth Belgian-yeast driven flavors that lie beneath this nearly opaque strange brew. The slightest roastiness follows through the spicy, light plum, Saaz-hops-balanced body of the Tripel, and finishes with a pleasant medium-dry palate on this relatively big beer. Brewed by all six Brew Ridge Trail breweries at Blue Mountain, with candy sugar from Blue Mountain Barrel House and Starr Hill, spices from Wild Wolf, and recipe formulation and process design from Devils Backbone and South Street. This Beer then underwent additional aging in Four Roses Kentucky bourbon barrels. 8.5% abv, 30 International Bittering Units (IBUs)The brewery (located in Afton, Virginia) will be represented at the festival by its distributor.
Cap City IPA is an unfiltered, American-style India Pale Ale brewed with lightly toasted malts and aromatic hops for a medium-bodied ale with an assertive pine and citrus hop flavor. The cask is additionally dry-hopped with Centennial, Columbus, and Cluster hops. 6.5% abv, 65 IBUsThe brewery (located in the Shirlington district of Arlington, Virginia) will be represented by brewers Mike McCarthy, Travis Tedrow, and Jeremy Joerger, and manager Meagan Sweeney.
Winter Storm is the brewery's take on an Imperial ESB, a cross between an IPA and a barleywine, with nutty, earthy, and caramel flavors. Earthy hops like English Fuggles and East Kent Goldings and citrusy hops like U.S. Centennial give it a strong hop character; a mix of malts including British crystal, caramalt, and chocolate malt make up its firm malt backbone and give it its tawny color and bigger body. The hop bitterness and the malt sweetness balance each other well. The cask is additionally dry-hopped with Maryland-grown Cascade hops. 7.5% abv, 55 IBUs.The brewery (located in Halethorpe, just south of Baltimore City, Maryland, proper) will be represented by Joe Marunowski, the brewery's Director of Brewing Operations.
According to Mayan and Hopi calendars the "transition from one world age to another'' will happen on December 21, 2012. As an homage to the 'transition.' DC Brau has concocted an Imperial IPA named "On the Wings of Armageddon": a single hop blend beer utilizing Falconers Flight™. At first glance, it has an orange hue in the glass with a viscous, rocky head that refuses to dissipate. Upon first sniff, there are dominant aromas of citrus, white grapes, and grapefruit, with notes of light bread and biscuit. After the first sip, we taste a mellow bitterness, that only grows as more is consumed. Moderately carbonated, deceptively smooth, refreshingly dry and extremely heady for a beer at 9.2% abv. The cask is additionally dry-hopped with PX90 (an experimental hop) and just-picked Cascade hops harvested at Burnside Farms, of Haymarket, Virginia.The brewery (located in northeast Washington, D.C.) will be represented by co-owner/brewers Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall, and their wives, respectively, Marisela Rodela and Heather Skall.
The 16 Point Imperial IPA has over double the amount of hops that's in our standard Eight Point IPA. Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hop varieties do the heavy lifting during the boil with Centennial, Columbus, and Chinook finishing off the beer during dry hopping. Citrus, dank herbal resin, & pine notes blend together on a malt backbone who's only purpose is to serve the hops. Deep golden and hoppy. "Ahhh....Too Much Hops!!!" - Un-named German visitor. 9.1% abv, bushels of IBUs.The brewery (located in Roseland, Virginia) will be represented by its lead brewer, Jason Oliver.
5.5% abv, 55 IBUs.The brewery (located in Rockville, Maryland) will be represented by brewer Christian Layke.
Brewed with only freshly harvested Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, and Centennial hops from Loudoun County, Virginia, Sage Hill Farms. The character is not very citrusy American, but more earthy/grassy as might be found with European hop varieties. The malt bill is Pilsner malt with three different crystal malts. This amber ale has a mellow bitterness and soft floral notes. The cask was additionally dry-hopped with the same local hops. 5.35% abv.The brewery (located in Ashburn, Virginia) will be represented by brewer/owner Favio Garcia and brewer John Peters.
We use smoked and peated malts to create an intricate malt foundation. Willamette & Cascade Hops Our method of dry hopping with vanilla beans and oak chips pushes the depth of this American-style Stout's flavor spectrum even further. 6.1% abv.The brewery (located in Dover, Delaware) will be represented by Craig McHenry of sales.
An English-style pale ale, brewed in traditional open fermenters, with imported British malts, and moderately hopped with English hop varietals: First Gold in the kettle, and finished with whole leaf East Kent Goldings in the hopback. Golden in color, with a lingering, dry finish. Named in honor of Cal Ripken, the baseball Hall-of-Famer past player for the Baltimore Orioles. 6.2% abvThe brewery (located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland) will be represented by its northern Virginia distributor.
Monumental IPA is a rich copper color, and is intensely hoppy. We add a special blend of American hops throughout the brewing and fermentation process to create a complex combination of aroma and flavor. This ale exhibits floral notes, flavors of citrus and resin, combined with delicious caramel background notes. The balanced style will keep the palate fresh and invite the drinker back into the glass. Awarded a bronze medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. The cask was additionally dry-hopped with Centennial, Liberty, Amarillo, and Magnum hops. 6.3% abv. 57 IBUs.The brewery (located in Alexandria, Virginia) will be represented by owner Bill Butcher.
St. George Imperial Stout is our tribute to the Russian Tsars of old. This Russian Stout is a huge beer. Everything from the body to the malt flavor and hop bitterness to its alcohol strength demands respect. Impenetrably black with a dense dark crown, this is a beer that will make even the longest of winters tolerable. The cask was additionally infused with dark cherries. 9.1% abv, 60 IBUs.The brewery (located in Hampton, Virginia) will be represented by sales manager William Spense.
Ghost Town is a pumpkin ale. Enough said. Brewed with pumpkin with a small amount of pumpkin pie spice added. 5% abv.Gold Rush Ale
Gold Rush is an American Pale Ale, in which we use a single hop variety. This time it is the turn of Motueka, from New Zealand. Totally tropical taste. 5.4% abv.High Desert Imperial Stout
High Desert Imperial Stout won a total of four medals, including two Golds, over the years at the Chicago Real Ale Festival. Hope for cold weather and light the fire. 11% abv.The brewery (with three northern Virginia locations in Centreville, Sterling, and Merrifield) will be represented by its executive brewer, Nick Funnell.
Dr. Punkinstein is a pumpkin porter, with 100 pounds of pumpkin, with clove, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The cask was additionally infused with molasses and bourbon-vanilla paste. 5.7% abv.The brewery (located in Leesburg, Virginia) will be represented by brewer Kristi Griner.
Here's how the festival works.
It's Saturday, 3 November 2012, from 11 am until 6 pm, outside in the courtyard in front of the brewpub. The taps close at 5 pm, but, of course, the brewpub will continue to sell its beers, draft and cask —and its regular food menu— indoors (as it will throughout the day). Entrance outdoors is $20, which entitles a festival-goer to a 20-oz Mad Fox Brewing Company glass and five tickets. Additional tickets are $3.00. Pours are a half glass for one ticket and a full glass for 2 tickets.
As with the beer, the food will cost you ticket(s). Chef Andrew Dixon told me that he's sourced Virginia oysters for the fest. His spread includes:
- Virginia prime oysters, grilled over mesquite with garlic butter, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs
- Oyster Stew in a Bread Bowl
- Beer-brined Mesquite Smoked Turkey Leg
- Grilled all-beef frankfurters with Chesapeake-seasoned house-made potato chips
Mr. Madden has long been an advocate and practioner of cask-conditioned ale. (If any doubt, check out his medals from the U.S. Real Ale Festival, displayed on the wall at the far end of the pub's bar.) It's refreshing —pun intended— to see him showcase his efforts and those of local brewers in such an event.
It's the first annual, he promises.
- UPDATE: Photos from the festival, and a review: here.
- Google Maps directions to Mad Fox: here. Festival Facebook page: here.
- The 6 breweries, all in central Virginia, comprising the Brew Ridge Trail are: Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Wild Wolf Brewing Company in the Wintergreen area, Blue Mountain Barrel House in Colleen, Starr Hill in Crozet, and South Street in Charlottesville.
- What is cask-conditioned ale? Read more at Cask Ale USA.
- Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas and Oliver Ales. I'll be there at the fest, representing both!