Saturday, February 01, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Cask ale in light and shadow

Merriam-Webster defines the word eventide as "the time of evening." The first recorded use of the word was nine centuries ago, in the 1100s. These days, eventide is in the lower 40% percentile of words looked up. That's a shame. It adds an ineffable character to mere evening.

And, it seems a good word for this scene.

Winter Storm 'Category 5' cask ale

In evening eventide, a pour of a fresh, cask-conditioned ale sat on a bartop. In light and shadow, people were gathered around. Did the beer belong to the woman or to the owner of the hands grasping the bar edge or to the person whose jacket is seen to the right?

And what was that beer which was holding their interest?

No answer as to ownership but as to brewery-ship, it was "Winter Storm Category 5 Ale," a brewery-styled 'Imperial ESB' of 7.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv), brewed and conditioned by Heavy Seas Beer, a large 'craft, brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland. More than that, the ale was served cask-conditioned, fresh from a firkin (10.8-US gallon cask).

Why the 'eventide' reference?

With a capital 'E," that is the name of the Arlington, Virginia restaurant and wine bar that was serving this real ale, rather than offering an afterthought beer, say, Miller Lite or such.

A wintry beer blast-from-the-past, the photograph was taken in 2010. Alas, the restaurant is no more (not, I believe, from serving good beer). The brewery, Heavy Seas, remains in operation today.

Other than hops, the brewery had added nothing else to the fermenting beer in the firkin, no willy-nilly frou-frou, not gratuitously flavored but beer-flavored. It was brewery-fresh ale, as if the brewery had brought a beer-full fermenter —albeit on magnitude tens of times smaller than in the brewery— to this restaurant.

Real ale.

  • Caveat lector: At the time I took this photo, I was employed by a wine-and-beer wholesaler that distributed Heavy Seas beers in northern Virginia. My larger point, nevertheless, remains valid. Cask-conditioned ale —if brewed and conditioned properly, handled properly, and served properly— is a marvelous thing. It needs no adulterants.
  • Since then, as well, this blog has moved much further south. Thus, I should note that in Atlanta, Georgia, there is a 'craft' brewery with the name Eventide. This brewery —which opened in 2014, a few corners from Zoo Atlanta— is not connected in any way with the closed Virginia restaurant and did not brew the above beer.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays, and occasionally (as is the case today) with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • Photo 5 of 52, for year 2020. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Canon PowerShot SD980 IS point-and-shoot.
    • Settings: 9 mm | 1/8 | ISO 800 | f/4.5
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

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