The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community begun by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer, and co-moderated with Jay Brooks at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.
On the first Friday of each month, a predetermined blogger hosts The Session, chooses a specific, beer-related, topic, invites all bloggers to write on it, and posts a roundup of all the responses received.
For more information and to host a Session, go to the archive page at the Brookston Beer Bulletin
The Session began its course as a cross-blog discussion of beer styles. Since then, it has veered into beer-lifestyle discussions ... not that there's anything wrong with that! For February's Session, I'd like to return to essays on a beer style, or more precisely, a beer procedure: Cask-conditioned ale.
Cask-conditioned ale —or "real ale" as it is called, somewhat boastfully, by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), a beer consumer advocacy group in the UK— is defined by that organization as
beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide.
Viewers of this blog have read my opinions on cask-conditioned ale, and probably once too often. So, let's hear yours, and not only yours. Why not invite brewers and drinkers and bemused casked-spectators to contribute essays for the Session?
Make the post a definitional thing: other than that CAMRA description, what 'is' cask-conditioned ale? Or, make it an encomium: how cask-conditioned ale will transform the world. Or, make it a style harangue: why saisons, for example, should have no place in a cask, or should.
Or, make your post a lifestyle essay: how you first lost your c-c-a virginity. Make it a cultural debate: how Americans have 'extremed' the cask experience, or how Americans need further lessons from the British.
Make it an ale vs. lager knockdown: can lagers be cask-conditioned? Make it a zymurgical and practical thing: how does your brewery commercially produce and transport cask-conditioned ale?
Make it a 'pesce' PETA thing: can one be a vegetarian and drink cask ale? Make it a beer ticker thing: who makes the best, and who serves the best?
Make it a cellarmanship thing: how should a pub handle a cask? Make it an international thing: where was the most unexpected place you drank a pint of cask-conditioned ale? Make it a geek thing: at what temperature to serve, to sparkle or not sparkle, and how clear should clear be?
Make it a sad story. Make it a love story. But ... make it! And make it here, Friday, February 5.
Write your story (500 to 1,000 words would be fine.), then link to it here on the 5th as a comment or at my own post that day. A few days later, I'll collate, analyze, comment, and link back. Include some photos, too: of casks, of imbibing their contents, of filling them.
Above all, let's have perspective folks, perspective! Cask-conditioned ale is not a matter of life and death; it's much more.
My thanks, of course, go to Stan Hieronymus and Jay Brooks. They have organized, encouraged, and gently cajoled to get this resource —The Session: Beer Blogging Friday— on the web every month since March of 2007.
**** UPDATE 5 February 2010: Read the stories, blog entries, and essays posted here. ****
If you don't have a blog but wish to contribute, please do! Cut and paste your essay into the comment form here: http://thomas.cizauskas.net/contact.html. If it doesn't fit, use that page to contact me and I'll respond back. Just do it by Thursday 4 February, so that I can post it by the next day!