If you indulge me, and by association, “the blog,” you know of my deep love of craft beer and it’s no secret that I spend most of my beer drinking time at The Ginger Man in SoNo. It’s convenient since I live in Norwalk, but sometimes I like to bust out of the bubble and find new beer bars in which to “hang.” Besides Ginger, I like MiKro but going to Hamden is a haul.
But alas! The good people from Cask Republic and The Ginger Man have answered the prayers of craft beer freaks, like me (The Joker, anyone?! Come on!), with a second Cask Republic location in Downtown Stamford.
I fulfilled my craft beer obsession and managed to fall in love in the process during my visit to the freshly opened Cask Republic.
Damn and wow!
I was half expecting Cask to look very much like The Ginger Man, simple, clean, but was I ever wrong. In some corners Cask is decked out with craft beer trinkets behind glass. My favorite areas are easily the TWO fireplaces that give off a cozy, warm feeling in the winter. The dining room seats over 120 people and there are a few lounge areas sprinkled in; I have my eyes on spending time with a few beers by the fireplace on my next visit. The back dining area even has a small bar that is no doubt for private functions.
To sum up Cask’s décor: It’s Ginger Man – like. But it’s basically Ginger Man on crack with a side of steroids.
What’s not to like?! Cask showcases over 50 beers on tap with plenty more selections in bottles.
I could sit here and write “craft beer this” and “craft beer that” but with an ever changing beer menu, you’re better off just doing this part on your own. If you’d like help and want to buy me a beer or two, that can be arranged.
|Hello, beautiful 🙂|
My visit involved one beer and one cocktail. Yes, they’ll have a handful of cocktails (and wine) on the menu too. I chose a beer from the “Cask Conditioned” front page of the menu that had Brooklyn Black Ops that ended up being sold out to my dismay, but I was thrilled with my backup choice, Cask Conditioned Imperial Stout Trooper with Coffee.
Stout Trooper is a Russian Imperial Stout that packs a decent ABV punch (8.5%) but man, it certainly goes down smooth. This New England Brewing Co. masterpiece has hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt. I enjoyed drinking it as is but one could easily pour this over ice cream.
|And for the cocktail lovers…|
After the Stout Trooper I decided to try a cocktail. Gasp! I deviated from beer at a beer bar (a sin, I know) and tried a Dark ‘N Stormy that was mostly good but had a bit too much ginger beer for my liking.
Cask’s food was the part that shocked me the most. In a good way.
You see, when Ginger Man opened, the food was good, and I was satisfied when I ate there but I wasn’t blown away. Since, the food at Ginger has improved significantly. My expectations of the food at Cask were based on this previous impression. What I came to find out, and what I think you can expect is above average pub grub that at times includes beer!
|If you don’t like popcorn with bacon, you’re probably not a good person.|
In addition to entrées and sandwiches, guests can munch on items from a “Snacks” portion of the menu with items like BBQ Roasted Peanuts, Soft Baked Pretzel, and the satisfyingly salty and flavorful Bacon Popcorn. Cask will also have charcuterie and cheese boards for your snacking pleasure and plenty of small plates to share with your crew.
|I have a feeling I’ll be ordering these balls every single time I’m here.|
The one small plate I had to tackle was the Smoked Short Rib Meatballs with an IPA BBQ glaze and crumbled Maytag Bleu Cheese. If there is one dish I will absolutely go to bat for it’s this one. The short rib was more flavorful than classic ground beef and nothing else on the plate overwhelmed the meat. I actually scooped up and ate some of the BBQ sauce and the bleu cheese after the meatballs were gone.
|Is your mouth watering yet?|
|A peek inside.|
For dinner, I ordered a pan seared filet with polenta and mustard greens. The filet was seasoned properly and cooked to my medium rare specification. The creamy polenta was a nice switch-up from the typical potatoes and I admired the restraint used on the portion size of the mustard greens where a little goes a long way and a few forkfuls is probably enough for most people.
|Toasted almond ice cream was nice, next time I’m expecting something baked.|
My only gripe was that the still new Cask Republic did not have desserts as of yet and only had a few different ice cream choices made from a local spot. But I know desserts will happen at some point soon.
Expectations exceeded, craft beer obsession satisfied (for now), and I’m pretty sure no one will ever go back to SBC which is right next door. OUCH!
It looks like I’ll be splitting my time between Norwalk and Stamford, between The Ginger Man and Cask Republic.
191 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06905