Cask-conditioned 'real ale' appears to be an endangered afterthought in a lot of the United States. And even when it does appear, it's often not as truly 'cask-conditioned,' but merely as uncarbonated beer in a cask with cocoa-puffs and dingleberries tossed in, or other ephemera, willy-nilly.
Of course, that's a generalization, but only because it often is the reality.
In the United Kingdom, however, that is not so. There, Cask Ale Week begins today, an eleven-day week, "celebrating Britain's national drink," continuing through 2 October, but "only in Britain, only in pubs."
To learn more:
- Go to the website: caskaleweek.co.uk
- Read the Cask Report, produced annually since 2007, a summary of the cask ale market in the U.K.
- The Great American Beer Festival, since its initial iteration in 1982, has NEVER recognized cask-conditioned ale as a category. The Great British Beer Festival, first held in 1977, ONLY judges beers in cask-conditioned form.
- Ephemera have infected even the Great British Beer Festival. This year's Champion Beer of Britain was a vanilla-infused stout, but which, by all accounts, had been properly cask-conditioned.
- Real Ale “is either great or it ain't. Not every publican, bar manager, or owner knows what 'Real Ale' is, let alone what’s involved. Saying no is often the best course.”
— Via Tim Suprise, of Acadia Brewing (in Michigan), presenting to the 2012 Craft Brewing Conference.
- I cannot claim ownership of the phrase, "cocoa-puffs and dingleberries." That honor belongs to Joseph Marunowski, past brewer at Samuel Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) and past Director of Brewing Operations at Heavy Seas (Baltimore, Maryland).
- For more from YFGF: