It’s time to get real. Real ale that is- the annual Connecticut Real Ale Festival is coming to BAR on Sunday, January 26. I’m pretty excited because this is the first year I’ve been able to get the day off work and attend. And for my first time going, it looks like it’s going to be a great lineup of breweries. But before I get into that, a little background on real ale might be needed.
To be honest, I didn’t know what real ale was until a few years ago. “Real Ale” is cask-conditioned beer. The term “real ale” was coined by CAMRA (the Campaign For Real Ale), which is an organization based in England that promotes cask ale and cider, as well as the pubs that sell them. Cask conditioned beer is unfiltered, and served right from the cask it was fermented in. So there isn’t any extra nitrogen or carbon dioxide added.
It truly as as real as you can get- it’s the beer you make and only that. It’s also generally served at cellar temperature, around 54-57 degrees F, so don’t count on an ice cold brew. The warmer temperature allows for the more subtle flavors of your favorite cask beer to come out. The beer is pumped into your pint glass through a beer engine, which is probably one of the most badass pieces of beer equipment there is. I mean…it’s an ENGINE. For BEER.
Looking to find out more of the specifics of real ale? Check out CAMRA’s website here. You can even become a member and they send you some excellent literature, although it’s generally about events taking place in the UK.
The Connecticut Real Ale Festival takes place on Sunday, January 26 from 12-5 PM at BAR on Crown Street in New Haven. You can find out where to get tickets, RSVP, and see a list of what breweries will be in attendance here. I am especially excited for Firefly, Oskar Blues, and Schmaltz brewing companies, all of which are new to the festival this year.
Plus, all of this even sort of ties into the beer and music combo that I’m constantly stressing in this blog. BAR is a place that does a great job of combining the love of craft beer and music (also PIZZA!). Their free weekly shows each Wednesday have brought some amazing touring acts in, such as Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Mates Of State, Widowspeak, California X, and more. So whether you can make it down to the Real Ale Fest or not, Bar is definitely a great place to hang for lovers of good music and good beer.