Dix Summer Caskival is a showcase of cask conditioned (experimental) beers from many of the local microbreweries put on by Dix Brewpub and the local chapter of CAMRA. The event featured a number of experimental beers that the brewers can’t normally make because the beers are either too unconventional or too expensive to sell. There were a few flops, but even the flops were educational for an experimental homebrewer like myself.
My sister and brother-in-law, who are both know how to enjoy a great beer, accompanied me to the caskival. We weren’t unanimous, but we mostly agreed on which beers we liked best. These are the beers that we found most remarkable.
Dark Rum and Demerara Double IPA by Dix
The barely-perceptible demerara flavour supported this beer nicely. Compared with the Double IPA currently at Dix, I found this beer to be a lot more balanced.
I might try adding demerara or another sugar to one of my own beers that has a little too much going on to see if it helps balance it.
Chipotle Cream Ale by Big Ridge
Okay, I admit that I don’t like chipotle beers. I find Rogue’s chipotle beer is undrinkable (yes, that’s Rogue and undrinkable in the same sentence). This beer isn’t as bad, but I still didn’t like it. My sister, however, did. This is the beer we most disagreed over.
Drinking this beer did give me an idea for a chipotle beer that I might actually like: apricot-chipotle. It may seem odd to most people, but fruit and spice can go really well together and I might try to make a small batch of this sometime.
Masala Pale Ale by Yaletown
We all really liked this beer. I almost voted for it as best of show and my brother-in-law did. The masala sat really nicely in the beer with turmeric really evident in the aftertaste.
Like the Chipotle Cream Ale above, I might consider mixing masala in a fruit beer.
Oud Brun by Yaletown
This is another beer we all really liked. I ended up voting for it as best of show, but it was really a toss-up between this beer and the Masala Pale Ale.
What most impressed me was that I find Lambics to be very easy to get wrong. When visiting Belgium, I tried a number of Lambics and only really liked about 10% of them. The good ones, though, are really great and I thought this beer was as good as the best of Belgium.
Key Lime and Yuzu Hefeweizen by Dix
I liked subtle use of two fruits that could easily overpower a beer. I had a hard time distinguishing the yuzu from the lime.
Yuzu, by the way, is a Japanese citrus fruit that tastes like a cross between an orange and a lemon. The fruit is a little dry to eat on its own, but is often used as a seasoning in sake or to make fruit vinegars. I’ve also had Yuzu in some rare Japanese microbrews and would love to try brewing with them if only I could find them.
Purple Nurple by Taylor’s Cross
Another beer that I didn’t really like. The beer tastes fine, but the bubble gum smell really put me off.
The Purple Nurple did remind a little of Saison de Mai (French site) that I first tried Belgium a couple of months ago. The addition of asperule (also known as asperula, sweet woodruff, mugwort, sweet grass, and quinsy wort) makes this beer remarkable and I suspect this may have been one of the ingredients in the Purple Nurple.
Complete List of Casks
- Blackberry Stout – Dix
- Cranberry ESB – Spinnakers
- Simcoe Red Devil – R & B
- Fat Guy Oatmeal Stout – Mission Springs
- American Style IPA – Whistler
- Chipotle Cream Ale – Big Ridge
- Purple Nurple – Taylor’s Cross
- Dark Rum and Demerara Double IPA – Dix
- Espresso Vanilla Oatmeal Stout – Central City
- Apple Cider – Storm
- Oud Brun – Yaletown
- Three Finger Ale – Crannog
- Sour Cherry Wheat Ale – Dockside
- Key Lime and Yuzu Hefeweizen – Dix
- Frambois – Yaletown
- Masala Pale Ale – Taylor’s Cross
- Raspberry Pilsner – Storm