Even though the Volksfest is over for this season, we're still celebrating the arrival of fall with craft beer and various smaller festivals. In fact, this past weekend we attended the Hopfenfest at Cast Brauerei. We first heard about this local brewery about a year ago from some of our foodie friends. I can't say that I know many people who've heard of them (they don't sell any of their beer in the grocery stores because they brew in such small batches), though they always seem to be sold out due to their popularity.
According to their website, the name Cast comes from CA for California and ST for Stuttgart. Their logo -- a crest with a bear and horse -- similarly comes from the California and Stuttgart flags. Their speciality is California-style ale, which seems to be rather rare in Germany, though I feel like I've seen similar craft brewers become more and more popular over the past few years. Cast itself was only established in 2010.
Back to the Hopfenfest... We arrived at the brewery around 3:00 pm. Though I've walked past the entrance several times before, I almost missed it because it's located on a normal, residential street. The brewery takes up the bottom two floors of an apartment building, which is hardly the domineering entrance of Stuttgarter Hofbräu or Dinkelacker. Nevertheless, we knew we were in the right place thanks to the large tent filled with a crowd of people queueing for Cast's seasonal beers on tap.
The taproom was small, but cozy, with several tables set up inside, as well. Behind a small bar were two men serving beer straight from the tap. A large board advertised three varieties: Weisbier, Altfränkischer-Bier, and Pumpkin Ale. If you've been following my blog, then you might recall that I have a love for all things pumpkin. Needless to say, the pumpkin ale was my primary reason for coming to the festival.
The beer was served in a traditional Krug (a kind of earthenware mug) or a glass etched with the Cast logo. For my first, I chose to go with a large glass of the Pumpkin Ale. The taste was rather subtle compared to the spicy pumpkin beers I'm used to in the States, though I liked the heavy mouth and woody aftertaste. According to their website, they brew their pumpkin ale with acorn syrup and pumpkin purée. It was a nice change from the rather bland Pils that are so popular around here.
Once we'd finished our first round, Matt went for the Altfränkischer-Bier -- a darker, more bitter brew -- while I picked up a small glass of the Weisbier. The Weisbier was certainly sweeter than the other two, with a slight fruity, banana flavor to it. For the festival, they also had a selection of small plates, including pumpkin soup, obazda cheese and pretzels, and some kind of meat plate. We'd just come from lunch and weren't hungry, but the cheese I saw on others' plates looked especially enticing.
Perhaps the most pleasant discovery of the day was that one of the guys behind the tap was an American from Wisconsin. He was happy to answer our questions about the beer while pouring our glasses. He told us that they've only been making the pumpkin ale for about a year as a seasonal special. Their most popular beers are their IPAs and Pale Ales, which I've had the pleasure of trying at one of the Thursday Street Food markets in the Karlesplatz. (This was right around the time that Cast first got their stylish new labels.) Cast also sells to a handful of places around town, including one of my favorite burger places -- The Burger Republic on Marienstraße.
We only stayed for a couple of hours, but it was clear by the crowd that continued to grow that Cast's business is doing well. I know I will certainly be back when they start to bottle their pumpkin ale.
Tip: To hear about upcoming events, I've liked Cast Brauerei on Facebook. I also check out their webpage periodically to see what they're brewing next.
Cast Brewery is located on Schlosserstraße 20/1 just a block from the Österreichischerplatz U-bahn station. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from about 10:00am to 6:30pm on weekdays and 4:00pm on Saturdays. Most of their beers are 1,25€ to 1,75€, plus Pfand, and are available in six-packs or cases. Just be sure to go early as they often sell out rather quickly.