Emerald Isle Brew Works, West Warwick, Rhode Island. What a beer! This beer is cask only, but since the brewery is in my hometown I get to bring a growler home now and again (being a beer geek does have it's advantages). Pear- like esters, malt, and a perfect balancing hop finish all rolled into one damn fine beer. If you can't get Bank Street Ale where you live, move!
On 7/26/1997 I wrote:
A _very_ local brewery of mine, the Emerlald Isle Brew Works, produces
cask ale for distribution throughout Rhode Island and southern
Massachusetts. You've hit the nail on the head when you mention lack of
knowledge as the biggest problem to overcome; cask ale is almost unknown
outside of brewpubs here in the States. EI's solution is to condition the
beer at the brewery and deliver it ready to tap. In place of hard and soft
pegging, they use a special vent to release excess carbonation during
conditioning, and they use standard kegs in place of firkins, so the
process is not completely traditional, but the beers they produce are
spectacular indeed. And, of course, a beer engine in a restaurant or pub
is a beautiful sight to behold.....
Update 1/28/1998: A visit to the website of d.b.a., a beer bar of notable reputation in New York, reveals that they are serving Bank Street Ale on the hand pump. The Brewer had told me that a bar owner from New York who carried cask conditioned beers had come up for eight kegs of Bank Street, and then headed north to Massachusetts to pick up some Ipswich. When we were discussing it, the name of the bar eluded him, so I was pretty surprised to see it was d.b.a. when I visited their site the other day. Of course, eight kegs of Bank Street is certainly worth a trip from NYC to West Warwick, but knowing that the guys at d.b.a. are dedicated enough to seek out beer from picobreweries makes me determined to visit their fine establishment.
Emerald Isle uses standard kegs for their cask conditioned ales. All the work (secondary fermentation, fining, etc.) is done in the brewery, and the beers are only shipped when ready to serve. In lieu of pegging special taps allow for venting of CO2. The knowledge just isn't there for this to be done in the pub, but the effect is nonetheless impressive, and it's a pleasure to see handpumps in local restaurants and pubs.
Update: 1/27/1999: Sadly,
brewing stopped at the Emerald Isle Brew Works in West Warwick back in December. Brewer Mike McConnell has stockpiled kegs of their various offerings to last several months while he and his father Ray investigate the possibility of a brewpub/brewery. My fingers are crossed that this works out, if it doesn't you may have enjoyed your last pint of Bank Street.
Update: 3/12/1999: Stopped at Redbones tonight to celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday (Sunday).
Emerald Isle Bank Street Ale had a great malt body and was really fruity, loads of pear, I convinced some folks sitting next to me to try it as it might be their last chance.
And of course, the pulled pork sandwich was delicious.
Update: 4/28/1999: Sadly, it doesn't look like Emerald Isle Brew Works will be re-opening.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.