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).
This essay is from Paul Pendyck.
The increase in interest for Cask Ale that we have seen in the US over the past few years is tremendous. Obviously from a business standpoint I am happy but it is far outweighed by the fact that I can personally enjoy cask ale in more locations.
You can imagine when I first starting selling cask ale supplies 13 years ago I definitely was not doing it for the money! Even today that is still not my driving force. My belief that cask ale is the ultimate tipple is what motivates me to help people put that perfect pint on the bar.
As with any industry that experiences rapid growth it has to be handled carefully, remember 13 years ago when people were jumping on the microbrewery bandwagon who had no passion for beer but only saw it as a business opportunity. Beer deserves better than that. Cask ale certainly does.
The most disturbing phone call I receive is from a bar owner who calls on a Wednesday wants goods overnighted because they are serving a cask on Friday! Obviously that have no idea how cask ale needs to be handled.
I spend a lot of time explaining to them that the beer is leaving the brewery before it is finished and it is their responsibility to care for it in a manner that shows it at its best. I usually manage to convince them to wait until the following week.
We are all fortunate that there are many places that have cellarmen who are passionate about their cask ale, and it shows in the clarity and condition of the beer they serve.
Years ago I remember a bar owner who told me that he used to roll the cask before he put it on as his customers expected it to be cloudy! You can imagine the argument that ensued.
So, to everyone that is involved with cask ale, let's remember that our goal should be to present the product as it is meant to be: clear, conditioned correctly, and at the right temperature. To all the people in the US that are already doing that, I commend and thank you.
Paul Pendyck (r) opened UK Brewing Supplies 13 years ago. He "imports everything you need for the dispense of cask ale, firkins, pins, Angram beer engines, bungs, taps etc." He is the co-organizer of the Lititz Cask Beer Festival.
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.