The topic of this month's The Session: Beer Blogging Friday is Cask-Conditioned Ale. In addition to inviting beer bloggers to contribute, I reached out to non-blogging beer folk (and, yes, they are many).
The following is the response from Steve Parkes.
While several brewers are now producing "authentic" English style cask ales that rival the quality achieved by brewers in Britain with hundreds of years of experience with the style, many are choosing to go their own way.
Either ignoring or ignorant of the "conventional" wisdom that beers served this way are traditionally delicate, nuanced, subtle, and drinkable, we're seeing some quite extreme products being pushed across American bars.
I've had ungespunget beer in Bamberg, and deliberately unfiltered beers in bottles by Harpoon, Switchback, and Mad River Brewing. In many ways, these are closer to the idea of cask ale than an inky black imperial stout in a firkin.
But does it matter? Tasty beer is tasty beer, right?
It only matters if a superbly balanced, delicately flavored, drinkable ale loses its place on a bar because the customers don't recognize it as the real thing.
Already a degreed brewmaster when he arrived in the United States from the UK in 1988, Parkes opened Maryland's first post-Prohibition microbrewery. He has since consulted and brewed for several award-winning US breweries. He is the owner of and lead instructor for the American Brewers Guild brewing school.
The Session: Beer Blogging Friday 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.