Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cask ale, or what I like to do

When I was the peripatetic representative for the Clipper City Brewing Company —up and down the southern East Coast delivering, conditioning, and talking about cask-conditioned ale was my favorite thing to do. Oh, yes: drinking it too. 

In my new position in northern Virginia, I don't have the frequency of cask-opportunity that I once had. So, I'm happy to have been asked by Lary Hoffman and the folk at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Virginia, to present a cask, in fact, the first at his pub.

inside out_Galaxy Hut

An anonymous questioner here at the blog once asked: "What is the difference between keg and cask?" I have a website at which, eventually, I'll go to great length to answer this question. Currently, the site is only a bunch of (good) links, including one to all the posts here at Yours For Good

So, for now, the quick and easy answer is a cask is nothing like a keg. Except that they both contain beer. 

 Think of a cask not as a keg, which it might superficially resemble, but as a small 10.8-gallon fermenter. A cask contains beer that is still fermenting, or that at least contains active yeast. Thus, a cask is a fermenter brought to you, rather than you traveling to the brewery. Outside of a brewery, a cask contains beer that is the freshest a beer can be. 

 And what does that —what does fresh beer— taste like? 

 Come visit Galaxy Hut on Tuesday 28 April at 6pm. I'll give a (quick!) primer on cask ale, and then tap the firkin. And, appropriately enough, it will be a cask from Clipper City: Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale. Lots of fresh hops. 

[UPDATE: photos from the tapping.]

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