NERAX (2019)

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by Seacoastbrewer, Jan 3, 2019.

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  1. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Anyone have any links for the spring cask fest in Southie? Looks like their website is down. Given the fall fest didn't happen, hoping this doesn't indicate some issues with the org.
     
  2. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    spring fest is on -- they lost their Salem venue for North last year and I think that is why it didn't go down.
     
  3. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
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    Confirmed NERAX is on for April 3-6 at the Lithuanian Club in Southie. They are working on getting the site back up. Cheers to cask ale!!
     
  4. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Awesome.

    For the curious, they did have a little "mini winter Nerax" this year in Watertown since the Fall version was canceled. I don't know how widely advertised it was - I only knew about it since I was on the volunteer list that got mass emailed. I didn't end up being able to go, but I was intrigued that there was a dark mild from a local brewery I've never heard of (Small Change) on offer.

    Did anyone here go?

    ===================================================
    Winter Cask Ale Party in Watertown!
    Bummed there was no NERAX North this year? Me too. Let's get together, drink some cask ale, and reminisce about the festival that wasn't! There'll be another big NERAX coming up in April, so we have that to look forward to. This little night might be just the ticket to whet your whistle.

    We're expecting to have 2 UK beers and 4 pins of local fare. The current beer list is on the ticket website (click the banner above!)

    Friday, 7 December 2018
    6:30 PM - 10:30 PM
    Canadian-American Club of Massachusetts
    202 Arlington St, Watertown, MA 02472

    UK
    Fyne Ales - Mills & Hills (9.4% Imperial Stout collab w/ DeMolen of Belgium)
    Treboom - Kettle Drum (4.3% Best Bitter)

    GR
    Weissenohe - Benediktiner Zwickel dry-hopped with Polaris (4.8% hoppy lager)

    US (Boston)
    Bone Up Beer - Shut Up, Kelly! w/ Amandine-soaked oak chips (6.3% Robust Porter)
    Down the Road Brewery - Likely an IPA/DIPA but maybe a saison
    Idle Hands Craft Ales - 34 (6.7% Robust Porter in honor of Mr. Ortiz)
    Small Change Brewing - The Future is Unwritten (3.1% Dark Mild)
     
  5. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (128) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I was able to go. I'm not sure this was a NERAX sponsored event, but there were many familiar faces and it was run much like NERAX on a small scale. Tickets were $25 which included a $5 refundable glass deposit and six half-pint beer tickets. I do not believe there was any way to purchase additional beer tickets. The setup was similar to NERAX with some seating around the perimeter and no tables. Food offerings were Hot Pockets and microwave burritos(!).

    The German cask kicked in less than an hour and all seven of the offerings were finished well before the 10:30pm end of the event. I wasn't able to try the Zwickel or Small Change's Mild, but, for me, Bone Up's rich chocolatey porter was a standout. All in all I left a happy camper!
     
  6. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Whether or not they sponsored it, that is brilliantly in keeping with the DIY vibe of Nerax :slight_smile:

    Thanks for the onsite reporting!
     
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  7. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I was thinking about NERAX myself last week and noticed their site was down. I sent a message to the folks who run it they were surprised. Also had confirmed the dates as above.
    Looking forward to it - NERAX is my favorite fest by far.
     
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  8. ElmerTLee

    ElmerTLee Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2015 Connecticut

    YES!
     
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  9. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    The beer drinkers beer fest.
     
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  10. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I mostly go for the hot pockets.
     
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Haha, that was the fake NERAX.

    Real NERAX has Redbones.
     
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  12. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
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    REAL NERAX is at the Dilboy VFW in Davis Sq. All others are wanna be’s!
     
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Ha, as much as I miss that venue...I don't.
     
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  14. MikeyBadnews

    MikeyBadnews Initiate (197) Dec 10, 2013 Massachusetts

    Food stole the show last year. I get the "purity" of the whole thing, but I just cant enjoy flat and warm beer. Maybe it's just conditioning.

    But the people who run the event are top notch people, enjoy their craft and I'll probably wind up going this year too.
     
  15. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    What was the food?

    I never eat there, I head to Worden Hall afterwards.
     
  16. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I totally understand your feeling. I kind of feel that way about anything that looks roughly yellow or golden. Once you get a bit of darker malts in there though I really appreciate what the cask brings to the table.

    And yes the people who run it are just amazingly friendly and excited to share their love of cask beer. There was not one whiff of exclusivity or "I'm-caskier-than-thou" chest thumping. It's a very welcoming atmosphere for novices (which I was my first time, and really still am).
     
  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    I understand what both of you are saying, but it's really not flat at all, just naturally carbonated. Plenty of head on the beers I receive. And they're not really warm either, just cellar temp.

    It definitely works better for some styles than others, which is why I mostly stick to UK session ales.
     
  18. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    To be clear I don't find the lighter ones warm or flat per se, I just find myself thinking "I'd like this better regular style". That's where I understand OP and others not loving them.

    When it comes to the darker ones, I don't understand what the hell they're complaining about :grin:
     
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  19. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    I strongly dislike hoppy beers (American ipas) on cask. But, I love ESBs and other more mild British style beers. I get how people can be turned off by cask, definitely took me sometime to get it, I just needed to find the right styles.
     
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  20. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I hear you there. As much as I miss the location - heading out, stopping at Downtown, then a big ol' burrito at Anna's (and hoping people don't spill their sides on me...)
    I don't miss that venue at all. Small, noisy, the staircase to the bathrooms (AKA the other 12 steps to sobriety) in which the one by the window was always locked off...
    I do like the Lithuanian Club - nice big room, clean, I like having the second floor when it's available - I don't like the parking (or lack thereof) or the lack of fairly inexpensive eats nearby.
    I've been going to the fest 18 or so years now, (I think) and have watched it expand, and improve every year. The early years I went when there was the band at the Dilboy, having to get a full pint, then immediately go to the back of the line for your next; even going slow it'd take 45 minutes to get through the line. They got rid of the band, they put in attendance limits. etc.
     
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  21. MikeyBadnews

    MikeyBadnews Initiate (197) Dec 10, 2013 Massachusetts

    They're not "flat" I get it, but when we're conditioned (pun yay) to experience beers over 2,0 volumes of Co2, having beer at roughly half that level seems more of a flaw, even if its what the intent was.

    Also, if I remember correctly the hall last year was damn hot, and Im not sure the coolant blankets on the firkins really kept anything at a legitimate 50-55 degrees. I wont pretend to have anything more than a novice level of knowledge on cask ales.

    The beers I enjoyed were the milds and the higher alcohol beers that are generally lower in carbonation. And I guess that's the art of it. A lot of breweries seemed to take one o their more popular beers and just cask it.
     
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  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    And that’s why NERAX is great. Anyone looking to get into cask ales should go. You won’t like everything, but you’ll almost always find something that “clicks”.

    And you’ll never find anywhere else where you can be sure the casks are properly take care of....and you get to have UK ales.

    Much better than paying out your ass at a bar who treats cask as some novelty and charges a premium for an oxidized mess past its prime.
     
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  23. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Right there with you. American hoppy beers are definitely my least favorite style on cask.

    And good point on taking things on a style by style basis.
     
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  24. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I like traditional but also love American craft born styles on cask — a Citra hopped pale ale for example - is awesome served as real ale IMO. The temp and light carb make the hop flavors and subtleties just pop. This is more than a trend now in the UK as the style boomerang has really taken hold especially with all young start ups (for those that even bother to do cask vs force carb. The result is more variety for the punter.
     
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  25. trevorpost

    trevorpost Meyvn (1,384) Aug 3, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yeah, I'm quite fond of more delicate <4% golden ales lightly hopped with nouveau-hops on cask. Something like Jarl on cask is majestic, but obviously different from a pint of Doom Bar.
     
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  26. MattOC

    MattOC Defender (645) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Ticket sales are open. I'm in for the Saturday afternoon session.
     
  27. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'm still working on negotiations with SWMBO on when I'm going.
    Starting a new job this week, so part will be what my hours will be for that - I've mostly gone Friday evening, sometimes others as well.
     
  28. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (255) Jul 29, 2006 New Hampshire

    In for the Friday session. I can't believe I've been going to this for 10 years! Even while living in Portland, OR - I'd schedule trips back home around the NERAX festival. #priorities I guess.
     
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  29. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Well, it's the best beer festival in the country. Understandable.
     
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  30. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (255) Jul 29, 2006 New Hampshire

    I remember going to the Hood River Hop festival several years ago. It was great, for like 4 beers. Then I could no longer taste bitter...
     
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  31. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Sounds like they're having a bit of trouble gathering up enough volunteers this year. If you've ever thought about it, I can't recommend it enough. It's super easy and fun and everybody is extremely grateful and friendly - you don't need to worry about knowing a lot about cask beer or meeting some sort of dedicated nerd quotient. And yes, you can drink free beer (and eat free food) during your shift. Well, during the 15 minute breaks you get every hour anyway :slight_smile:

    Link to volunteer form here: http://nerax.org/wp_nerax/home/volunteer/

    From an email from the organizers:

    "Greetings fellow cask beer aficionado: We wish to thank those who have committed to assisting at the 2019 NERAX Classic. This is not a confirmation; those will go out late next week. In my sub-address book I find it too difficult to separate those who have volunteered from those who haven't.

    Our volunteer numbers are disconcertingly low, with only Saturday #1 close to our target. <please access the form> on the NERAX website. Once again, a NERAX turns its' lonely eyes to you."
     
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  32. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    HOnestly, I see that same email just about every year.
    There's never enough volunteers, but it works out anyway.
    I've worked it before and it is a lot of fun; I just can't do it this year. Between only having one day to be able to go and a longish trip to get there, it's not in the cards. I would do it again, though.
     
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  33. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I don't recall seeing this message the last couple of years, but hopefully you're right that this is just par for the course. My history doesn't go back further than 2016.
     
  34. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (128) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Notch’s Gates of the West (best bitter) is on cask at Row 34 and tasting exceptional.
     
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  35. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Anyone tried to get tickets online lately? I'm having trouble getting into the website. I keep getting a "database error."
    I am planning on going Friday night, BTW. Worked out that negotiation.
     
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  36. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (128) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I swore to myself I was only going to attend two NERAX sessions this year, but now I seem to have booked myself for three sessions. #caskaleproblems
     
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  37. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
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    Chopper’s got it under control.
     
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  38. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (128) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
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    According to FB, the NERAX kickoff party will be Monday from 6pm-8pm at Redbones. I haven't been to the kickoff in a couple of years, but in the past they have had 3-4 casks flowing and at least one of them has been from the UK. Cheers!
     
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  39. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (468) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
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  40. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,916) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Mother firkin' NERAX!
     
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