Portsmouth, NH -
Just wanted to throw some needed attention in the direction of cask-conditioned beer. A few days ago the New York Times had an article about the re-emergence of cask beer at bars in New York, and around the country, in the last couple of years. Thank God.
Cask ale, to refresh your memory, is unfiltered and unpasteurized beer served by hand pump, without the addition of carbon dioxide. That makes it a lot smoother, frothier and heartier.
The cask also promotes a more natural process of serving beer. It has a shorter shelf life that requires better tap planning and encourages local distribution. In other words, think globally drink locally.
Plus it just tastes better. Fans and friends well know my take on McNeill's in Brattleboro, VT, where they constantly offer three different cask beers: Duck's Breath Bitter, ESB, and Dead Horse IPA. When I lived in Da Bratt back in 2004-05, I spent a couple of weeks sampling their other offerings like Ruby Ale, Slopbucket Brown, Big Nose Blonde, and Wassail. But all along I knew what had to be done, and with the exception of occasionally sampling the seasonal rarities, I haven't ordered anything out of the carbon tap ever since. If you have the opportunity of cask ale at your disposal I would suggest you do the same.
Here in New Hampshire, Strange Brew in Manchester offers one cask, usually Shipyard's Old Thumper Ale. If anybody knows of any others, please post it in the comments section.
Look at that healthy cask glow!
P.S. The Patriots are unbelievable.