NERAX - Day 1
So, Nerax started on Wednesday night, but last night was our first NERAX experience.
We were quite excited during the drive into Boston. We packed our directions, had a list of beers that they were offering, and filled our tummies with some pre game food.
We approached the area, spotted the VFW in the distance and surprised when we quickly found an open parking space. The event started at 6:00 and we approached the doors at 6:30. (You may be wondering why I am mentioning this part of the story, but just keep reading.) There was a line going outside the door.
We felt comfortable, but confused. We bought out tickets in advance, but where is the will call window? We ventured up to the line and asked if they had already bought tickets. The common answer was no. On the approach to the door, Ian asked some nice lady if "he could get by now" (thank you waynes world), she gruffly replied back with "we are all waiting in line for tickets". After a quick 2-3 seconds stare down, she moved out of the way and we were able to pass.
After scooting around the front of the line, we found the will call table. We had an odd exchange with one of the organizers because we had an extra ticket. We weren't worried about getting our money back, because there was a long line of people waiting behind us that weren't getting in for at least an hour or more. The guy said "Let me tell you slowly, you can get your money back or go outside and sell the ticket." I didn't have the ticket, so it would have been tough to sell it. We decided just to get our money back and slightly confused he said, "Well, you could have gotten 40+ dollars for selling it in the line."
(Just so you know, there was an cop standing right behind him.)
GAME ON!!! It was a small place and we were ready to go. After buying a glass for $5.00, we headed up to the bar to make our selections. $1.50 for a 1/4 pint, $2.50 for a 1/2 pint and $5.00 for a full pint.
I stuck with 1/4 pints the entire evening. I wanted to try as many different selections as possible. At first, Amber and Ian had a couple of 1/2 pints, but then they followed my steps. It's harder for the pourers to pour a 1/4 pint. It always ends up more than a quarter. WOO HOO
Anyways, the list that we printed out off the web wasn't too accurate. Some of the beers listed weren't available, and some of the beers available weren't listed. That's ok, because they had a booklet available. Here are the beers that we tried (not in any particular order):
* Dark Star - Hayward's Heath, West Sussex, England
Hophead (OG 1040, ABV 3.8%) (Ian)
* Fuller's, Griffin Brewery, Chiswick, London, England
London Pride (OG 1041, ABV 4.1%, IBU 30) (Amber)
* Hop Back - Downtown, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Summer Lightening (OG 1049, ABV 5%, IBU 38) (Sean)
* Oakham, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
Bishop's Farewell (OG 1046, ABV 4.6%, IBU 34) (Sean)
* Cairngorm, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Black Gold (OG 1044, ABV 4.4%) (Amber 2x, Sean)
* Orkney, Quoyloo, Stromness, Orkney, Scotland
Dragonhead Stout (OG 1045, ABV 4.6%, IBU 29) (Ian)
* William's Brothers Brewing (Heather Ale), Kelliebank, Alloa, Scotland
Fraoch Heather Ale (OG 1041, ABV 4.1%) (Ian)
* Brains, Cardiff, Wales
Dark (OG 1036, ABV 3.5%) (Amber, Ian)
* Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York, NY
Brooklyn IPA (Sean, Ian)
* Concord Brewery, Lowell, MA
Concord Junction Porter (OG 1071, ABV 5.5%, IBU 32) (Amber)
* Gardner Ale House, Gardner, MA
Naked Stout (OG 1040, ABV 3.9%, IBU 39) (Amber)
* Gritty McDuff's, Portland, ME
Best Bitter (OG 1048, ABV 4.8%, IBU 35) (Sean)
* Martha's Exchange (Brewpub), Nashua, NH
Smoked Porter (OG 1058, ABV 6%, IBU 45) (Amber)
Another Ale (Ian)
* Moat Mountain Smoke House, Conway, NH
Moat Mountain Spruce Beer (OG 1050, ABV 5.4%) (Sean)
* Pennichuck Brewing Company, Milford, NH
Engine #5 (OG 1048, ABV 5.0% IBU 25)
Halligan Rye PA (OG 1050, ABV 5.1%, IBU 41)
* Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH
American Mild (OG 1048, ABV 4.8%, IBU 16)
* Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Old Thumper (OG 1060, ABV 5.8%, IBU 34)
* The Naked Stout is really good.
* The Moat Mountain Spruce was very strong in aroma and tasted like a tree (as you would expect)
* Ian and I enjoyed the Brooklyn IPA
* The Heather Ale had a fantastic aroma, smelled more like a candle than a beer. It tasted like a tea, as the smell of heathers overwhelmed everything else.
*Amber says, "the black gold took the night by storm"...she had 2 1/2 pints and a 1/4 pints!
* I really liked the Halligan Rye PA and American Mild. They both had a nice hop presence and tasted very good.
An Cask Ale fest is very interesting. For those who like cold, wimpy beers, please stay home. Please remember that cask ales are generally pumped out without a carbonation presence. Generally, they are not chilled the same and tend to be warmer, almost room temperature at times.
There are large white boards above the extended bar that tell you what's available. When a key goes dry, an eraser on a pool cue is used to wipe away the selection. The crowd goes into an uproar when this happens. AND... don't drop your glass..
What a great time!!! Next year, everyone should attend.