I've clearly been on a Cask Ale kick lately. I'm all but seeking them out. So when I heard that Harmon Brewery was going to be tapping a Firkin of their ESB this afternoon, I nearly immediately drove to the brewery. I arrived shortly before the cask was officially tapped and as far as I know I received the first pint. Or at least I'd like to think so. I had a pint of their "pushed" ESB prior to the cask version and it was interesting to taste the difference. They had clearly dry hopped the cask, which helped to highlight the freshness of the ale.
Brown’s Point ESB
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Serving Type: Cask
Served at Harmon Brewery Tacoma, WA
Aroma: Notable dry hop aroma representative of possibly Cascade or Centennial hops, representing bright Citrus hop aroma but with a grassy character in the background. Caramel and white bread malt aromas with slight melanoidin malt.
Appearance: Light copper to a deep straw with a slight yeast haze. Not as cloudy as expected from the cask, but the beer is certainly carrying considerable yeast along with it. Served with a creamy white head, like cool whip consistency. The head retained well and stuck nicely to the edge of the glass on it’s way down.
Flavor: Medium to light citrus hop bitterness up front before moving to an earthy hop bitterness in the middle. Malt character is light but represents wheat, biscuit and bread crust.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with light to little carbonation. Yeast and malt make up a smooth and pleasing mouthfeel with just enough natural carbonation to be noticeable.
Overall: Very nicely dry hopped in the cask to deliver a bright hop character with smooth malt balance. Beer is nicely presented at a serving temperature representative of a true cask ale. Mouthfeel is a bit thin when compared to the malt flavor, hop bitterness and aroma. A well served cask and a nice addition to their normal ESB offering.