358 - 363. The New England Real Ale Exhibition

Last night I went to the final session of the 10th Annual New England Real Ale Exhibition (NERAX) at the George Dilboy V.F.W. Post in Somerville, MA (only a few blocks from my apartment). All beer served at NERAX is Real Ale, meaning it is cask-conditioned. The NERAX site has a good brief description of what Real Ales are all about.

I've heard that NERAX is one of the best Real Ale events in the country. Unfortunately the final session probably wasn't the best one to go to. Many of the casks had already been emptied during previous sessions, and several were emptied during the session. Still, I had several excellent beers and I walked away with a nifty NERAX Imperial Pint glass.

Full-pints (20 oz.), half-pints (10 oz.) and quarter-pints (5 oz.) were available at the cash bar. I stuck to half-pints and quarter pints to maximize the number of different beers that I could sample. I also tried to cut down on the length of my tasting notes since it's hard to write and drink when standing.

358. Young's Bitter - England

Appearance: Clear copper, with a thin white head.

Smell: Malty with resiny hops.

Taste: Light toasty malts with a pleasing hop bitterness that isn't overpowering. The flavor of hops is more pronounced than the hop aromas.

Mouthfeel: Low-carbonation, smooth and light-bodied.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink, nice bitterness that isn't overpowering.

359. Dark Star American Pale Ale - England

Appearance: Pours a clear golden with a frothy thin head.

Smell: Very pronounced hops.

Taste: Sweet bready malts with a strong hop finish with notes of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, low-carbonation, oily.

Drinkability: Nice interplay of flavors, but the hops might be too much for some.

360. Milly's Brown-noser - New Hampshire

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque dark brown with ruby edges. The only sign of a head is a thin ring of bubbles.

Smell: Roasted malts and dark fruit.

Taste: Sweet malts and fruit upfront, fading into light roasted flavors of chocolate and maybe a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with very low carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice subdued sweet and roasted flavors.

361. Coniston Bluebird Bitter XB - England

Appearance: Clear copper with a thin bubbly head.

Smell: Damp cloth, nutty, hops.

Taste: Toasty malts, fruitiness, not a lot of hop presence.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and light to medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Not huge on flavors, but easy to drink.

362. Milly's 4th Anniversary Ale
- New Hampshire

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish copper with a thin bubbly head.

Smell: Piney hops with a light citrus.

Taste: Light sweetness with a piney hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and oily.

Drinkability: Hard to tell, I'm full of beer.

363. Sam Adams Nut Brown Ale - Massachusetts

Appearance: Opaque black with a thin bubbly head.

Smell: Nutty toffee, caramel and roasted malts.

Taste: Sweet caramel, dark fruits. The finish is sweet and candy-like with hints of roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied with a sweet syrupy finish.

Drinkability: Tasty, but a little heavy.

Overall I had a good time at NERAX. Of the beers I tried I think Dark Star APA is the winner, followed by Sam Adams Nut Brown Ale.

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