NY Craft Beer Week: Our Ten Favorite Sips at the Get Real NY Cask Ale Fest

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[Photographs: Maggie Hoffman]

New York's third annual Craft Beer Week revved up this weekend, and we got a chance to stop by the Get Real NY beer fest at The Altman Building in Chelsea. Organized by Patrick Donagher of Rattle 'n' Hum , Chris Cuzme, Mary Izett, and Alex Hall (with help from Andy Freedman of Wined and Dined), the two-day festival featured cask ale and local food. There were huge crowds at Saturday's sessions, but Sunday was mellower, giving us a chance to taste our way through a wide variety of beers.

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Featured breweries included Bear Republic, Blue Point, Captain Lawrence, Firestone Walker, Flying Dog, Kelso, Lagunitas, Left Hand, Nebraska Brewing, Pretty Things, Sixpoint, Southern Tier, and quite a few more, in addition to an impressive lineup of local homebrewers.

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While I often feel like only smoother, richer styles (like stouts, brown ales, and barleywines) really benefit from cask conditioning, the beers that impressed me most included a saison, a pale ale, and Cigar City's fruity Guava Grove Ale. There were quite a few beers to love at the fest, but here were my top ten:

10. River Horse Oak Aged Bourbon Tripel Horse
9. The Bruery Seven Grain Saison
8. Smuttynose Robust Porter with Apple Brandy Chips
7. Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans
6. Smuttynose Chai Porter
5. Cigar City Guava Grove Ale
4. Green Flash 30th Street Pale Ale
3. Blue Point Toxic Sludge
2. Cigar City Red Oak Maduro
1. Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus

Which cask ales did you like best? Will we see you at other NY Craft Beer Week events?