The English are no stranger to cask ales, the unfiltered, unpasteurized style of beer sometimes referred to as “real ale” and they’re now becoming a summer favorite in the U.S. as their popularity at beer festivals begins to grow. Cask beer is typically unfiltered and unpasteurized, undergoing fermentation right inside the cask. Characterized by little carbonation and higher-than-average serving temperatures, cask-conditioned ales are flavorful and often a pure expression of the ingredients they’re brewed with.
This summer at Chicago Ale Fest, we’ll be featuring Lemont brewery Pollyanna Brewing Company’s cask version of their year-round porter, Eleanor, in a collaboration with Maple Leaf Farms in Leesburg, Indiana and their traditional duck slider. The collaboration began with a mutual affinity for good food and drink, making the partnership a no-brainer for both Pollyanna and Maple Leaf Farms.
Ryan Walker of Maple Leaf offered up the idea of a duck slider based on the versatility of the main ingredient. “Duck is unlike other poultry. Chicken and turkey typically taste like whatever it’s seasoned with. Duck on the other hand, has its own taste, which is extremely adaptable,” commented Walker. “It easily pairs with the nutty richness of Pollyanna’s Eleanor porter. Both [our duck] and [Eleanor] are full-bodied with many layers of flavors,” he concluded.
Not to settle for just any old duck slider, this slider will contain both ground duck for a traditional looking slider patty, as well as being topped with duck bacon.
Brian Powala, head brewer at Pollyanna, wanted to add his own flare to this collaboration by adding maple syrup and pecan to the porter to add a more complex flavor-profile.
“Porter is just a great beer to add stuff to, so we thought maple and pecan would go really well with Eleanor,” explains Powala. “It has a lot of dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes so the maple sweetness and the nuttiness will go well with the base grain and help cut the richness of the duck sliders, as well.
These cask-conditioned ales tend to disappear quickly and are best as fresh as possible. Be sure to find Pollyanna Brewing at Chicago Ale Fest to get your hands on this special edition pouring of Eleanor and a tasty duck slider before it’s too late to enjoy both!
The Chicago Ale Fest is a celebration of American Craft Beer in the heart of Chicago. The 2017 fest will take place on Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th. Located at Butler Field in historic Grant Park, bordered by the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, the fest will feature more than 200 beers from over 100 American craft breweries.
2017 Chicago Ale Fest
A Chicago Craft Beer Festival
June 23 & 24, 2017
Butler Field – Grant Park