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Brewtopia Events LLC

Owen Ogletree's Brewtopia Brewsletter: September 2012

In this issue:

- Top Ten Tips When Visiting Cask Pubs in England

- Eagle & Lion Casks Coming to Trappeze in Athens, GA on 9/6

- Owen & Sachin Hit GBBF, Harveys & Shepherd Neame

- Featured Beery Links & Events

- Do you have tickets yet for our next Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting?

- Follow Brewtopia Events on Facebook!

Follow our craft beer adventures...


- Top Ten Tips When Visiting Cask Pubs in England

By Owen Ogletree


10. To find the best cask ale (AKA real ale) pubs in the UK, be sure to consult CAMRA's Good Beer Guide that's available in print form, Kindle, smartphone app and SatNav. Don't go to England without it!


9. Order at the bar and pay with cash as you go. If you are eating, be sure to check your table for its number and let the bartender know where to deliver your grub.


8. Cask ale is alive and delicate and can be very variable - don't hesitate to send back a pint that's a bit sour or oxidized. Good pubs will quickly give you another pint and mostly likely change out the questionable cask.


7. When visiting several pubs in a day, it's quite wise to order half pints - but remember to order a "half." If you say "half pint," all the bartender will hear is "pint."


6. If no one has purchased a pint of a certain cask ale in a while, sometimes the beer in the long handpump goose-neck tap can get a little stale. Ask for a small sample to make sure the cask is in good form. If you see someone order an interesting brand of cask ale just ahead of you, go ahead and get a pint or half pint for yourself - you'll be getting fresher beer from the cask (not from the beer line or goose-neck).


5. The alcohol content of cask ales in England has been creeping up in recent years, but every real ale pub will still have one or more elegant, subtle casks in the 3-4% ABV range. Try to stick to these near the end of a long pub crawl and be certain to ask for pints of free tap water throughout the day.


4. Learn to appreciate walking a few blocks between pubs. Your head will thank you the next day.


3. Cask-conditioned real ales offer lovely, elegant aromas and flavors in beers that are often quite low in ABV. Don't get in such a hurry on a UK pub crawl that you forget to admire the ale's appearance, sniff the appealing aromas and swish the beer around your palate for full appreciation and enjoyment.


2. When a rare mild ale or low ABV ordinary bitter is encountered in a pub, be sure to try them. Stronger bitters and hoppy golden ales are all the rage right now in the UK, but you just can't beat a well-made dark mild or light-bodied, sessionable bitter.


1. Never order fizzy, bland lager or draft beer in a real ale pub in England. Go straight to the handpumps and ask "what's on cask?" If the pub has no cask ale, head out the door to the next locale. Life is too short to not drink cask ale.



- Eagle & Lion Casks Coming to Trappeze in Athens, GA on 9/6



Frustrated that authentic English-style cask ales are so rare on this side of the pond? Then be sure to join brewer Mark Broe and Owen Ogletree at Trappeze Pub in Athens on Thursday, September 6 at 6:00 PM for a chance to sample all SIX authentic, sessionable, English-style cask ales from Eagle & Lion brewpub in Griffin!


Look for the popular 4.1% Brass Monkey Mild with sweet hints of chocolate malt, 3.7% Tipsy Toad flavorful session bitter, 4.2% Golden Eagle with rich hop flavor, malty 4.5% South of Taylor Special Bitter, 4.5% single-varietal hopped Yes Face IPA (made with a different hop in each brew) and the 4.8% East Griffin Stout with delightful notes of roasted barley.


Here's the full story on Eagle & Lion...


Eagle & Lion - Born from a Passion for Real Ale

(Published originally in Southern Brew News)

By Owen Ogletree


Almost ten years ago, after a long day at his Lincolnshire U.K. chiropractic office, American-born Mark Broe sat on wooden bench in a personable English pub and sipped a pint of one of the best cask-conditioned ales he had ever tasted. It was an almost transcendental experience, and Mark realized he needed a change. He wanted to create beers like this one.


English cask ale (or real ale) is often quite low in alcohol and contains living yeast cells that provide a soft carbonation in the unfiltered beer once it's sealed inside casks called firkins. A very delicate and vulnerable form of beer, real ale requires thoughtful brewing techniques, timely transportation to the pub and meticulous care by pub owners.


"Living and working in the U.K. convinced me of the value of a fine English ale," says Mark. "But I found that you were likely to get a bad pint at times, so I wanted to improve the beer in the region where I lived."


Mark Broe creates cask magic at Eagle & Lion


A Leap of Faith


Mark left the chiropractic field and enrolled in Brewlab's Sunderland Brewing University. "This was truly a leap of faith for me," Mark notes. "There were not a lot of brewing jobs at the time, but I managed to get a job at Grand Union Brewery in London, became the head brewer after only nine months and worked there for almost four years. I think that the secret to great cask beer lies in solid British brewing techniques, and my beers at Grand Union won local, regional and national awards."


Mark decided to move to Georgia in 2007 to look after his aging mother who now lives in the small, historic town of Griffin just one hour south of Atlanta. In 2008 he took a job at Atlanta's Red Brick Brewing where he tried very hard to boost the brewery's interest in cask ales but soon realized that Red Brick's focus needed to remain on growing their brands and keeping up with production.


Surprised at the growing popularity of extreme beers in the U.S.A., Mark recalls, "I came back from England and didn't drink beer above 6.5% alcohol. I think if you drink a lot of strong ales, you can ruin your health. Extreme brewing techniques of over-hopping can also be unpleasant and overwhelming to me. So I decided to try and bring English-style brews to Georgia."



A Cask to Call Your Own


In September of 2010, Mark left Red Brick with the goal of opening his own brewpub to satisfy his craving for English-style cask ales. With the help of his mother and brother Tom, Mark set out to purchase an eight barrel Porter brew system much like the one he used at Grand Union. Porter would not sell and ship a new system to America, but, as luck would have it, Mark spotted a used Porter brewhouse from a defunct brewery in Birmingham, England listed on a website. Mark purchased the equipment (that came with 150 firkins) in April of 2011 - all with no idea of how and where he would establish his brewpub.


As possible locations in Atlanta and Decatur fell through, a resident of Mark's mother's retirement community in Griffin mentioned that the town had recently modified its laws to allow for brewpubs and was looking for someone to open one. As Mark walked through downtown Griffin one day last summer, he spotted a rental sign in the front window of an attractive restaurant that had sat empty for many months. The door was open, Mark walked in for a look, and signed the lease last September.


Birth of a Brewpub


Then followed a six month installation of bar, kitchen and brewing equipment prior to the opening of Eagle & Lion at 414 East Taylor Street. A front patio with picnic tables now leads to a central bar area complete with English handpump beer engines for serving Mark's real ales. A fine selection of bottled and draft craft beers rounds out one of the best beer menus in the area.


When asked about selling English-style cask ales to the locals in Griffin, Mark replies, "It takes some educating on our part, but so far the locals have been very accepting. We sell more of my beers than the other beers we offer, but just like in the U.K., you still have a lot of people drinking light lagers."


Eagle & Lion's cask ales are served in 10 ounce half pints and 20 ounce imperial pints. Mark and his brother Tom still argue about whether or not to serve small flights of his beers. "I don't want to do a beer flight," Mark claims. "I have the strong opinion that a sip doesn't give you an accurate interpretation of what a beer is all about - you should have at least a half pint."


Alex Arthurton & Charlie Meers tour the brewpub


British Brewing Techniques


The brewhouse at Eagle & Lion sits behind glass at the rear of the brewpub and ranks as the only Porter system in America. After a basic infusion mash, Mark drains wort to the boiling copper for a one hour minimum boil with only whole cone hops from the Pacific Northwest and England. With Eagle & Lion's system, trub and hops settle to the bottle of the kettle, and the beer comes off the top into one of two open fermenters equipped with water cooling systems.


10.8 gallon firkins are filled directly from the fermenters, then conditioned at 55 degrees F for a few days in upright position. The upright firkin is then moved carefully to the cooler under the bar and fitted with a cask "widge" float that pulls beer from the top, insuring that the yeast sediment remains at the bottom of the cask.


Eagle & Lion's food items seem worthy of a great ale - with crab cakes, cheddar & ale soup, fresh Alaskan cod fish & chips, and daily chalkboard specials highlighting the compact, yet appetizing menu.


What constituted the most rewarding aspect of opening Eagle & Lion for Mark? "Drinking real ale here in Griffin," he says. "It worked out exactly as I planned."


- Owen & Sachin Hit GBBF, Harveys & Shepherd Neame

Owen Ogletree and Sachin Patel traveled to England in last month to visit the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia Exhibition Center and enjoy tours of the famed Shepherd Neame Brewery in Faversham and Harveys Brewery in Lewes.


The photo to the right is of Sachin Patel (of Athens' Five Points Bottle Shops), Crawford Moran (brewer and co-owner of 5 Seasons Brewing) and Owen Ogletree at the 2012 Great British Beer Festival in London.


Photos from the best cask, real ale pubs in Faversham and Lewes are also included on the report. Click on this link to be taken to the interactive photo album where you can enlarge photos, read captions, download photos, see our pub maps and/or comment on a photo. Cheers!


- Featured Beery Links & Events

  • 09/22/2012 - BREWMASTERS OPEN homebrew competition (Alpharetta, GA) is open to all BJCP beer, mead, and cider styles and points count towards the Mid-South Homebrew Series and Georgia Brewer/Homebrew Club of the Year. Info here.
  • 10/06/2012 - 3rd annual TERRAPIN HOP HARVEST fest at the brewery in Athens, GA. Details.
  • 10/06/2012 - 17th annual BRAMWELL OKTOBERFEST, Bramwell, WV. Owen Ogletree, The Beer Wench and Larry Johnson will be on hand to judge. Click here for tickets.
  • 10/06/2012 - HOTOBERFEST Atlanta. Info.
  • 10/20/2012 - Decatur Craft Beer Festival. Details.
  • 01/26/2013 - ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING. 5 Seasons & Taco Mac Prado. Tickets are available NOW!
  • 04/07/2013 - CLASSIC CITY BREW FEST. Foundry Park Inn & Melting Point, Athens, GA. Tickets are on sale NOW!
  • BREWTOPIA EVENTS' FULL INTERACTIVE BEER CALENDAR is always just a click away - featuring the best beer happenings around the Southeast and beyond.


- Do you have tickets yet for our next Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting?



ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING (Saturday, January 26, 2013) allows attendees to sample almost 40 rare, cask-conditioned real ales from the USA & UK, take home a free Peak Organic pint glass and vote for "People's Choice" cask - all while experiencing one of the Southeast's most highly regarded craft beer events! Delectable food from 5 Seasons and Taco Mac will also be on sale! A benefit for the Atlanta Humane Society. Click here for tickets and full details.



- Follow Brewtopia Events on Facebook!

CLICK HERE and "like" Brewtopia Events on Facebook to see live photos and posts as we sip, quaff and sniff craft beer around the world.



  • Owen Ogletree heads to the southern beer hub of Asheville, NC to report on the exciting ales, lagers, brewpubs, bars and microbreweries.
  • Owen will post photos and tasting notes from Tampa's fantastic Cigar City and Seventh Sun breweries!
Owen Ogletree is an Athens, GA beer writer, beer traveler, nationally certified beer judge, and founder/director of, the Classic City Brew Fest, and the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. Phone: (706) 254-BREW.
Brewtopia Events LLC • 265 Newton Bridge Rd. • Athens, GA 30607
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