Carla makes me take my clothes off and leave them on the side porch whenever I come home from the Horsebrass. Then I dash naked to the shower, and scrub myself from head to toe. I don't even take off my glasses, because if I don't wash them with soap, I spend the next couple days sniffing around trying to figure out what part of my body or clothing I failed to purge of cigarette smoke.
Despite the unbreathable air, the Horsebrass is a national treasure. A beautiful standing beer list, plus a dozen or so well-chosen rotating taps, usually including three cask conditioned ales. Five dartboards, authentic pub grub, a Rogue beer named after the proprietor's brother (Younger's Special Bitter).... It's worth an occasional brush with lung cancer to bask in such pub glory. This weekend's cask festival was a great excuse to brave the smoke at the Horsebrass. Dave and I headed down there Friday evening; we sat down with Brian, a mustachioed chap that I seem to run into at all of these festivals nowadays. Matias joined us a little later.
The Horsebrass published a list of 21 cask beers, so it was a little disappointing to arrive and find that only 6 of them were available at a time. Not that we were going to run the table with 10-ounce sample sizes, but six cask-conditioned beers felt a little paltry considering that any day of the week you can walk in and find three cask selections. Oh well. The ones we were able to try were tasty indeed:
- Walking Man: Big Phat Homo Erectus Double IPA: awesome, sweet, hoppy
- Double Mountain: Oak-Aged India Red Ale: sweet and nice, honey-flavored
- Laurelwood: Deranger Imperial Red Ale: sweet, thick, hoppy
- Hopworks: Deluxe Old Ale: very nice, nicer than CO2
- Bridgeport: Hop Harvest Imperial IPA: good, but still too much dry hops
- Deschutes: Jubel Ale: subdued, caramely
What about the beers we missed? It was quite a blow not to get to try Lagunitas Maximus or Hairy Eyeball on cask (especially for Dave), and I wanted to get a taste of Ft. George's Cavatica Bourbon Barrel Stout, which I've had on CO2 at the Green Dragon. The promised Ninkasi selections were part of the attraction for me, but at least I've been fortunate enough to have Tricerahops and Believer on cask at the Horsebrass in the past. Even so, I'm sad to have missed them, especially since the Tricerahops lined up for the fest appears to be a special dry-hopped version. I also would have liked to try Dick's Porter or Barley Wine on cask, and the Mt. Hood Pittock Wee Heavy. Mt. Hood Brewing always surprises me with the quality of their beers, though the last time I tried their Wee Heavy -- at the Horsebrass, of course -- it wasn't exactly what I hoped for.
All in all, another great pub night with some one-of-a-kind beers. Don your oxygen masks, and go forth to the Horsebrass!