When I was the peripatetic representative for the Clipper City Brewing Company —up and down the southern East Coast— delivering, conditioning, and talking about cask-conditioned ale was my favorite thing to do.
Oh yes: serving it too.
In my new position in northern Virginia, I don't have the frequency of opportunity that I once had. So I'm happy to have been asked by Lary and the folk at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Virginia, to present a cask, in fact the first at his pub.
An anonymous questioner here at the blog once asked: "What is the difference between keg and cask?"
I have a website at which, eventually, I'll go into great length to answer this question. Currently, the site is only a bunch of (good) links, including one to all the posts here at Yours For Good Fermentables.com.
The quick and easy answer is a cask is nothing like a keg. Except that they both contain beer.
Think of a cask not as a keg, which it might superficially resemble, but as a small 10.8-gallon fermenter. A cask contains beer which is still fermenting, or at least it contains active yeast.
Thus a cask is a fermenter brought to you, rather than you traveling to the brewery. a cask contains beer that is the freshest a beer can be.
And what does that —what does fresh beer— taste like?
Come visit Galaxy Hut on Tuesday 28 April at 6pm. I'll give a (quick!) primer on cask ale, and then tap the firkin. And, appropriately enough, it will be a cask from Clipper City: Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale. Lots of fresh hops. [UPDATE: photos from the tapping.]