A dusting of snow may have curbed the Jan. 23 12th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, but it didn't blunt attendance at one of the city's premier beer festivals . The morning's formal judging was canceled because of the weather, so attendees were able to vote for their favorites. The winners (all hail from Georgia):
- First place, classic style: Wild Heaven Blackberry is Not a Planet Either
- Second place, classic style: Blue Tarp Last Place Stout
- Third place, classic style: Jail House "I Was With Peaches!" Alibi Ale
- First place, specialty beer: Cherry Street O.A.S.I.S.
- Second place, specialty beer: Wrecking Bar Almond Joy Jemmy Stout
- Third place, specialty beer: 5 Seasons Prado Hot Nuts Scotch Ale
- People's Choice: Machupu's Coffee Mazurt Russian Imperial Stout
So what makes a cask ale different from regular draft beer? In keeping with British tradition, cask-conditioned ales undergo secondary yeast fermentation in a 10.8-gallon cask. Best when just tapped, cask ales are "living beers," being lightly carbonated and served chilled, not cold. The technique results in ales with remarkable depth of flavor, further enhanced by the slightly warmer (than average) serving temperature.
Miss the event? Some Georgia breweries offer cask ales on site. Wrecking Bar Brewpub taps one at noon each week on Firkin Friday. Atlanta's SweetWater Brewery offers one during Wednesday tours. And Kennesaw's Burnt Hickory Brewery, Hampton's Jail House Brewing and 5 Seasons Brewing Westside occasionally serve them.
Woodstock's Reformation Brewery offered a version of their Declaration ale at the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting on Jan. 23. credit: Holly Steel
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