Heavy Seas Steal The Pint Night At The Quarter This Thursday: Remember, It’s Whats In The Glass…

Steal the pint nights.  Go ahead, admit it.  When such events show up on the upcoming calendar of events, the typical thoughts can range anywhere from the opportunistic and slightly mind expanding “hope there’s a few beers there that I haven’t tried” but for most, eventually come to also include the similarly opportunistic but only beer-glass-collection-expanding “YES – free swag!”  But how about being truly educational?  Just imagine if this had been one of your course descriptions in your college course catalog:

IPA215:  Students will participate in a comparative field study examining the effects of cask conditioning and the introduction of Belgian yeast strains to an IPA.  Research will include collecting samples of each version and gaining knowledge through extensive testing.

Sounds like a class you’d wait list for, right?  Of course, drop the collegiate course book lingo and basically you have “come and taste some beer”.  True, as most steal the pint nights go, usually there is always some amount of educational value.  Typically, a restaurant or bar will pick a night to feature a particular brewery, and have on hand that night more than the usual assortment of their beers to taste.  With any luck at all, those beers will include one or two that you haven’t had, a nano beer festival of sorts, and therefore allow you to try a good example of a beer style you have yet to taste, or perhaps a really well respected example of a style you’ve have had before, so you can see how a world class example does things.  But on Roanoke this Thursday night, we students of craft beer are going to be provided with a slightly different slant on your typical steal the glass night.  This Thursday, April 26, The Quarter Restaurant will be hosting one which will feature just one beer.  Yes, just one beer – though with very different treatments to it, and very different flavor differences.  Remember the classes in school that truly made a difference, the ones you remember to this day?  This is one of those – and you won’t even need to bring the syllabus with you.

The beer at the head of the class is Heavy Seas’ Brewing’s (Baltimore, MD) Loose Cannon India Pale Ale.  Personally, this was the IPA that turned the hop corner for me.  It was still early on in my love of craft beer, and I had moved from one typically malty, not too hoppy style to another, and eventually began to wonder if I would ever truly take the plunge into beer styles known for their hop loaded flavor profiles.  Loose Cannon was the beer that brought me to that edge of appreciation, and then beyond it.  It took a few tries, but eventually, its delicious balance of pine needle and grapefruit like, citrusy goodness with just enough malt taste began my trip to becoming a proud hop head.  Today, it is a “go to” IPA for me, and I enjoy one literally whenever possible.  I consider it to be a very good introduction to the IPA style for anyone new to the style, as it was for me – plenty of hop flavor to be a solid approach for the newbie, without being an outright assault on the palate, and plenty of proud IPA for the devoted lover of all things hops.  Today, it is arguably, and deservedly, Heavy Seas’ flagship beer.

But Loose Cannon is thankfully always on tap at The Quarter, and this is still a steal the pint night.  Right, class?  Thursday night, the same Loose Cannon described above will also be available in cask conditioned form.  Unfamiliar with cask conditioning?  At one time, the pride of how just about how all beer in the United Kingdom was served.  Basically, the beer in question has undergoes a secondary fermentation right in the vessel from which it will be served, instead of being finished and placed in a keg.  It is also unfiltered as well.  Allowing the beer to mature this can allow it to develop a more complex set of flavors, and in the case of more hop forward beers, such as our Loose Cannon, the cask treatment tends to mellow out the overall hop flavors some.  Comparing a beer such as this on tap to a cask conditioned version definitely provides a unique tasting experience.  With cask ale, the secondary fermentation of course generates its own co2, and therefore its own carbonation as well, and along with the fact that beer poured from the cask is usually done without the use of any externally introduced gas to move the beer from the cask to your glass, the resulting beer has a “smoother” overall structure and mouth feel.  It’s one of the truest forms of ale production and method of serving, and many beer purists will tell you this is the way ale is supposed to be produced and served, resulting in many call “real ale”.  There is even an association in the UK dedicated to its preservation – CAMRA, The Campaign For Real Ale.  See, I told you this was educational.

Our second semester of sorts will be what Heavy Seas calls “extension of our Loose Cannon style brewed with black malt”.  A mix of two worlds for certain – a darker, malty beer merged with an IPA – Black IPAs resulted from the constantly open imaginations of craft brewers.  Heavy Seas’ version of the “style”, their Black Cannon, is based off of their Loose Cannon and brewed with, of course, dark, black malts.  In this beer, the malts make for a slightly smoky, slightly charcoal like flavor with just a shade of bittersweet chocolate, and it somehow all seems to accompany and highlight a citrusy character from the hops quite well.  Both take their turn being at the forefront of the beer, and the following low bitterness on the back end make it a beer that has a lot going on but is very easy to drink.

ne beer with three different treatments – truly different than the usual steal the pint night.  By having three examples of one particular beer, if you turn out for this one at The Quarter, you’ll return home with a bit of beer education – a better understanding of how different brewing techniques can drastically change a beer’s flavor, from cask maturing to the use of different malts than you’d expect.  Yes, arrive early enough, and you’re guaranteed a brand new glass to sit on the shelf.  But try each beer, and you’ll return home with so much more than simply glassware.

Visit The Quarter website here

Visit the Heavy Seas website here

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~ by thebeerroad on April 24, 2012.

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