Friday, May 11, 2012

Casks at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival!

Saturday, it's the Maryland Craft Beer Festival, at the Frederick Fairgounds. As well, it's the onset of Frederick Beer Week. Then, Monday, nationwide, it's American Craft Beer Week, 14 May through the 20th.

But, let's return to the Maryland Craft Beer Festival, which in years past was known as the Maryland Brewers Spring Beer Festival. It's a festival organized by the Brewer's Association of Maryland (BAM) for Maryland brewers ... and the folk who support and enjoy local beer. The key here is that it's not organized by a third party outside organizer (even though a company has been hired to help with the logistics). After expenses, it's Maryland breweries that will benefit.

Maryland Craft Beer Festival

Being a cask ale hound, I was interested in what real ales would be served, and how they would be handled. Serving cask ales properly at a festival is quite a bit more difficult than at a pub which is set up to accomdoate them. Here's what JT Smith, Executive Director of BAM, had to say:
The casks will be [and thus have been!] stillaged Friday morning in a dual-zone refrigerated truck, onsite at the festival grounds. The casks will be kept at cellar temperature [50-55 °F] They will be spiled the morning of the festival to the brewer's discretion in the hours leading up to the opening of the gates. While a majority of the casks will be tapped [for the] early entrance VIP time, I envision a majority, if not all of those casks making it to the early hours of General Admission, due to the limited numbers of VIP admitted, as well as the volume of casks being poured by Maryland brewers. It is worth noting that a few VIP tickets will be available at the gate, and are still currently available in limited supply via the official website. A few additional casks have been selected by our brewers to be tapped during the General Admission time as well

In addition, there will be firkins of There's much more than cask ale at the fest, and many more beers: draft beer, food, music. You can read more about the festival —including, purchasing tickets, and directions— at the festival website: The weather will be gorgeous!

  • The Eventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds
  • 797 East Patrick Street, Frederick MD 21701
  • 1-6pm: $17 online; $25 at gate. (VIP admission at 12 noon: $32 online; $42 at gate)
  • On Facebook: MarylandCraftBeerFestival
  • BAM on Twitter: BrewersAssocMD
Despite the non-plural name of the organization, the Brewer's Association of Maryland represents sixteen state breweries.

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