There’s a new burger on the blockor lane, rather. The Alley (2512 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, 832-3533,, formerly Western Lanes, recently renovated its Kingpin Grill and features on its menu an Angus burger made with beef from Raleigh’s Angus Barn.

Burgers are available in quarter-pound ($4.50), half-pound ($6) and three-quarter-pound ($7.50) portions. Two stylized burgers are available for an additional dollar. Bubba-style, says The Alley’s marketing rep Katie Poole, has slaw, chili, cheese, ketchup, mustard and relish. Pedro-style, Poole’s favorite, includes jalapeños, cheddar, chili, salsa and sour cream. Kingpin also offers Bubba- and Pedro-style options for its hot dogs, and more than 20 beers.

For more brews, purchase tickets now for the World Cask Ale Festival ( Organized to benefit Durham’s Central Park, the festival will run from 6:30–11 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Trotter Building (410 W. Geer St., Durham). “World” is a bit misleading; most of the beers available at the festival hail from North Carolina, with a few beverages from additional Southern locations, including Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Company and Richmond’s Legend Brewing. In the future, festival organizers plan to serve beers from around the world. For now, it’s worldly in that it draws on a popular method of serving beer in England.

Daniel Bradford, one of the event’s organizers and publisher of All About Beer magazine, says the festival is a nod to “the romantic tradition of Merry Old England.”

Cask ale refers to the process of creating and serving unfiltered beer that is put into a cask (or keg), where it continues to ferment and develop. And, according to Bradford, perfecting that process and serving a fresh “real ale” is difficult. It requires not only a level of artistry from the brewer but also a good deal of cellarmanship. It is the cellarman who oversees fermentation and, among other duties, maintains the ale’s natural levels of carbonation.

“This side of beer is very romantic,” Bradford says. It is also expensive to maintain. He explains that the festival spent several thousand dollars on equipment in order to keep the ales at cellar temperature: 54 degrees.

“It’s not so warm that the malt can become cloying,” Bradford says, “and not so cold that you don’t taste the hops.”

This is one of the reasons cask ale festivals are extremely rare and much sought after by beer enthusiasts. Thus, expect the festival to sell out, as it has done in years past. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at

It is with sadness that we mark the passing of Rob Hogan, owner of Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm near Carrboro, who died earlier this month after complications that resulted from an injury to his hip. Hogan and his family raised grass-fed beef and wheat. The Hogan family has also been the longtime keepers of Rameses the ram, the UNC mascot.

Correction (Oct. 22, 2010): Mr. Hogan’s hip was injured, but not broken, in a fall from his tractor. He died from related complications.

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