CASK ALE AT NOD HILL
WE STRIVE TO OFFER AN AUTHENTIC UK-STYLE DRINKING EXPERIENCE AT OUR BREWERY TAPROOM, WITH TWO BEER ENGINES SERVING NATURALLY CONDITIONED, CELLAR COOL (52F) CASK ALES.
WE DO SO BECAUSE WE BELIEVE NOTHING COMPARES TO A PROPERLY CELLARED & LOVINGLY SERVED PINT OF REAL ALE, & WE'D LOVE TO SHOW YOU WHY.
WE FOCUS ON BREWING & SERVING SESSION STRENGTH, TRADITIONAL ENGLISH STYLES THAT SHINE WITH EXCEPTIONAL SUBTLE BEAUTY WHEN SERVED OFF THE HAND PUMP.
WE ARE PROUD TO SAY WE ARE ONE OF A SMALL HANDFUL OF US-BASED ESTABLISHMENTS TO HAVE BEEN AWARDED CASK MARQUE ACCREDITATION.
A CASK MARQUE PLAQUE IS AWARDED AFTER TWO VISITS FROM AN ASSESOR WHO CHECKS OUR CASK ALE FOR TEMPERATURE, TASTE, APPEARANCE, AND AROMA. IF YOU'VE BEEN TO THE UK, YOU MAY RECOGNIZE THE CASK MARQUE PLAQUE FROM OUTSIDE MANY A PUB, SIGNIFYING "THE SIGN OF A GREAT PINT."
"I fell in love with cask ale when I lived in London for a spell after graduating college. I got a job pulling pints at a pub called the White Horse on Parsons Green, which had a reputation at the time as the best beer bar in London. The careful attention paid to these mysterious British beers by the head cellarman clued me in that something special was happening here. There was a magical quality in how the beer was treated as a living, breathing thing. I loved the earthy flavors of these humble yet beguiling ales, and the culture that surrounded drinking them in the pub. When I came back home and got really into homebrewing, making the sort of beer that would shine on cask was always in the back of my mind."
- DAVID KAYE
Nod Hill co-founder David Kaye behind the bar at the White Horse on Parsons Green, London. 2007.
WHAT MAKES CASK ALE DIFFERENT?
WHEN A BEER IS FINISHED FERMENTING, BUT HAS NOT YET BEEN FORCE- CARBONATED, WE FILL CASKS WITH THAT STILL BEER. WE ALSO PUT A SMALL QUANTITY OF SUGAR & YEAST INTO EACH CASK. THIS KICKS OFF A SECONDARY FERMENTATION - THE YEAST CONSUMES THE SUGAR, CREATING C02 AS A BYPRODUCT. THE BEER IN THE CASK BECOMES NATURALLY CARBONATED, A PROCESS WHICH TAKES ABOUT TWO WEEKS.
AT THIS POINT, WE PUT THE CASK IN A TEMPERATURE-CONTROLLED CABINET WE CONSTRUCTED UNDER OUR BAR. WE ARE ABLE TO KEEP CASKS AT "CELLAR TEMPERATURE", OR AROUND 52F. WE VENT THE TOP OF THE CASK TO ALLOW EXCESS C02 TO BE RELEASED, CONNECT IT TO A LINE WHICH RUNS TO THE BEER ENGINE, AND SERVE IT USING THE HAND PUMP TO PULL BEER FROM THE CASK.
EACH OF THESE PROCESSES HELPS CREATE A UNIQUE DRINKING EXPERIENCE
1) NATURAL CARBONATION = SMALLER BUBBLES, GENTLER MOUTHFEEL
2) CELLAR TEMPERATURE = FLAVOR & AROMAS MORE PRONOUNCED
3) VENTING = CASK IS OPEN TO AIR, OXYGEN ENTERS & SUBTLY CHANGES THE BEER'S FLAVOR OVER THE 2-4 DAYS IT TAKES TO POUR THROUGH THE CASK
CASK ALE IS CONSIDERED "LIVING" BEER BECAUSE IT IS UNFILTERED & STILL CONTAINS THE YEAST MICROBES FROM SECONDARY FERMENTATION. WHILE OUR DRAFT & CANNED BEER IS ALSO UNFILTERED, IT HAS NOT RECEIVED THAT SECOND DOSE OF YEAST & INSTEAD IS FORCE-CARBONATED (ie CARBON DIOXIDE IS DIRECTLY RELEASED INTO THE STILL BEER).
OUR CASK ALES
IF YOU VISIT OUR TAPROOM, YOU'LL FIND WE TYPICALLY HAVE ONE OR TWO OF THE FOLLOWING BEERS ON CASK. YOU CAN SEE WHAT'S CURRENTLY BEING OFFERED HERE.
PRIDE OF RIDGEFIELD - ENGLISH-STYLE GOLDEN ALE 4.3%
EYNSHAM - DARK MILD 3.5%
CHESTERFIELD - ORDINARY BITTER 3.5%
PARSONS GREEN - BEST BITTER 4.6%
TOPSTONE - EXTRA SPECIAL BITTER 5.9%
COZY SNUG - IRISH DRY STOUT 4.1%
RIDGE RED - IRISH RED ALE 4.5%
IN ADDITION, WE OCCASIONALLY LIKE TO FEATURE CASKS FROM OUR BREWERY FRIENDS THAT ALSO MAKE GREAT TRADITIONALLY-INSPIRED ALE, NAMELY WATSON FARMHOUSE BREWERY & OEC BREWING.