Friday, November 06, 2009


Last night, Justin and I attended NERAX North. What is NERAX North, you say? Well, that's a valid question. As J. pointed out, a NERAX sounds like a Seussian character. However, it stands for New England Real Ale Expo and the North designation means it took place in Haverhill, as opposed to Somerville, where the March event takes place.

In essence, it's a small beer drinking festival for those who appreciate "real ales." According the the NERAX website, real ale is "top-fermented beer that complete its secondary fermentation in the [vessel] from which it is served. Cask-conditioned beers are real ales served from the brewer's cask."

At any rate, we ended up spending four hours at
The Tap, the hosting restaurant, and had a lovely time sampling (small) quantities of a selection of American and British ales. The beers we tried are listed below, along with tasting notes from the NERAX booklet.
  • O'Hanlon's (Whimple, Devon, England) - Port Stout. A black beer with roast malt in the aroma that remains in the taste, but gives way to hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. ABV: 4.8%

  • Marshall Wharf (Belfast, ME) - Wrecking Ball Baltic Porter. Complex malt backbone, brewed with molasses. ABV: 7.8%

  • Gwynt y Ddraig (Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, Wales) - Haymaker Cider. A fruity medium cider bursting with the flavour of apples. A true Farmhouse Cider with a smooth finish. ABV: 6.5%

  • Inveralmond (Inveralmond, Perth, Scotland) - Lia Fail. The Gaelic name means Stone of Destiny. A dark, robust, full-bodied beer with a deep malty taste. Smooth texture and balanced finish. ABV: 4.7%

  • American Flatbread (Burlington, VT) - London Calling. They brew this traditional English style as one of their flagship session ales using Maris Otter malt, UK Goldings to bitter, late boil additions of UK Goldings and UK Fuggle, and on this batch, a whirlpool addition of locally grown Goldings and Cascade, fermented with a London ale yeast. ABV: 3.5%

  • Orkney (Quoyloo, Orkney, Scotland) - Skull Splitter. An intense velvet malt nose with hints of apple, prune and plum. The hoppy taste is balanced by satiny smooth malt with fruity spicy edges, leading to a long, dry finish with a hint of nut. ABV: 8.5%

  • Ridgeway (South Stoke, Reading, England) - Ivanhoe Pale Ale. Traditional warm, roasty, and fully-rounded English malts are punched up by a subtle yet direct shot of aromatic and refreshing English hop bitterness. ABV: 5.2%
On our way back to the car, we walked up an alley between two old brick buildings and I felt compelled to take the photo at the top, after stopping in my tracks and saying, "Ooh, look. It's like we're in New York, circa 1890." I'm such a history nerd.

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