This is the second year that I’ve attended Casks & Quesos and like last year this was a great event. All of the beer at this event was cask conditioned and masterfully paired with a cheese and bread.
Just like last year, Thirsty Bear set up 5 tables, each with 3 casks of beer and three types of cheese. Most of the beer was from local breweries but one surprise this year was a cask of BrewDog Dogma.
A slight change change from the previous year was that Thirsty Bear moved the event from Saturday night to Sunday at noon. They also moved it downstairs, which is much more roomy than upstairs. This made it seem much more mellow of an event although attendance was probably about the same as last year.
Another addition this year was including, at each of the tables, artisan bread, made by the San Francisco Baking Institute. The highlight of these breads was a spent-grain bread made from the spent-grains used in the brewing process by Thirsty Bear. It was a little nutty yet not too dense. It was quite delicious.
I took some time to make a few tasting notes while I was there and they are as follows:
Local Brewing IBA. This bear was brewed in Thirsty Bear’s brewery. It is roasty, earthy, and herbal. It has some floral aroma with very little citrus. It is on the drier side and has a distinct crisp bitterness. I really good take on this new style of beer.
Half Moon Bay Brewing McMaverick Scotch. Jammy, malty, very sweet aroma, almost like ollaberries and maple. It is great when paired a smoked cheese like the one provided at the event. This is a great beer and not too strong at 6% abv.
Drake’s Pinnacle Pale. Smells grassy, lemon, and resinous. It is crisp, refreshing, and not terribly bitter.
Thirsty Bear Meyer ESB. Dry hopped w/Cascade gives it an almost mimosa like aroma and flavors.
Gordon-Biersch Heller Bock in a wood cask. Refreshing, light-bodied, a little bitterness and a little sweetness. A little woody.
If you’re interested in my coverage and photos from last year, check out Casks & Quesos at Thirsty Bear, SF Beer Week 2010.