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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Boone welcomes cask ale

(l to r): beer buyer form Harris Teeter store; Michael Sheridan of Earth Fare;
and representatives from my North Carolina wholesaler Tryon - Bob, Brook, Scott.

Boone, North Carolina is home to Appalachian State University. On several occasions in town, I was corrected as to the proper pronunciation of the name ... that is until I finally remembered! It's ap (like apple) puh LATCH chin.

Earth Fare is a supermarket which specializes in organic foods, small producer food products, and the like ... all with a hip, college town zeitgeist. It operates several locations.

The beer/wine/cheese manager of the Boone Earth Fare, Michael Sheridan, invited me to host a beer dinner and cask ale tapping in the cafe area of the store. I'd say about 70 people showed up to listen, watch, and taste. In fact, the entire city of Boone had never had cask ale before this evening's event!

It bears repetition. Cask ale is the freshest a beer can be. It is living beer, still alive with fermentation. Whereas many wines improve with extended aging, beer is best consumed fresh, like a loaf of bread piping hot out of the oven. Of course, the cask ale will be refreshingly cool!

Michael provided several tasty small plates to accompany the lecture and beers, including a delicious Stilton pastry. In addition to the cask of Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale, we poured bottles of Red Sky at Night Saison, Peg Leg Imperial Stout, Small Craft Warning Uber Pils, and Below Decks Barleywine.

The Red Sky at Night Saison had only been bottled the day before. Clipper City's local wholesalers wouldn't be delivering to stores and pubs in the DC/Baltimore/northern Virginia area until Friday. Thus I believed - and the audience applauded the fact - that this Earth Fare beer dinner was the first commercial tasting of this year's Saison. It was a wonderful time and a very attentive audience.

Afterwards, the crew pictured above took me to the local Boone Tavern where we continued the evening with several pints of other good beer.

Photos from Clipper City Brewing's Cask Ale Dinner at the Earth Fare in Boone, North Carolina, Thursday 19 April 2007.

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