Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pic(k) of the Week: Gravity tap

DuClaw cask tap

It's a close-up shot of a 'gravity-pour' cask tap that had been driven into the wooden keystone of a stainless steel beer cask. A gravity tap is called that because Newton's law dictates the flow. Open the tap, and the beer flows out, down.

The beer was Hellraiser, an IPA, brewed by DuClaw Brewing, of Bowie, Maryland.

IPA is an acronym for 'India Pale Ale', beer-speak vernacular for a hoppy, bitter, and alcoholically-strong pale ale. Hellraiser was, indeed, hoppy. The brewery rated the bitterness at 85 IBUs (International Bittering Units, a biochemically derived measure of hop-derived bitterness). Budweiser, by contrast, has been measured at less than 10 BUs. And, Hellraiser was, indeed, strong: 7.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv).

Cask-conditioned ale (often referred to as 'real ale') is exquisitely fresh beer. It is served from the very vessel in which its final fermentation occurrs, i.e., the cask. The most common size of a cask, 10.8 U.S. gallons, is known as a 'firkin'.

DuClaw further infused the Hellraiser, within the firkin itself, with dried apricots and Guajillo peppers. The beer was, indeed, spicy.

The photo was taken at the 2012 Chesapeake Real Ale Festival, at the Pratt Street Ale House, in Baltimore, Maryland. This year's fest, the 10th annual, occurs Saturday, 29 October 2013. Details and tickets available: here.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

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