Craft Beer Week is upon us and what better way to celebrate than raise a glass of cask ale! But what is a cask or real ale? According to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a real or cask ale is a "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide."
I consider our cask ales to be the definition of craft beer! Upon finishing fermentation in our large tanks, the beer is transferred to the casks where the flavors can harmonize. It's here we can 'dry hop' or add additional hops to the ales to maximize that hop aroma. These casks sit immediately behind the stained glass in our tap room and connect to the large beer handles or beer engines. The beer is not pressurized with carbon dioxide, so we must use the beer engine to pump the beer out manually. Take note when we pour you a glass, we're putting our biceps in to getting the taps to move! The casks are stored at cellar temperatures (52F) rather than ice cold like our lagers, so if you’re new to cask-conditioned ales don’t be surprised if the glass isn’t icy!
So why do we go to all this trouble for cask conditioned ales? Flavor of course! The British styles of beer we cask condition have malt forward character that becomes more pronounced when allowed to mature in the casks and then poured through the beer engine. With all the work that goes into cask ales, it’s no wonder they are the definition of “craft”! So while you’re enjoying craft beer week, take a moment and come by the tap room to enjoy a craft real ale (which seems like a redundant statement as all real ales are craft!)
We'll also be celebrating Craft Beer Week so check out the website and Facebook for details. Craft Beer Week ends this Saturday with the Craft Beer Walk, May 18 which also happens to be McFleshman’s one year anniversary! You can still buy tickets to the Craft Beer Walk if you come to the tap room at 3pm on Saturday. We'll have Kevin Huss playing his glorious Irish tunes as well as Smokin Pig Express food truck. It's going to be a great end to a great week of celebrating the craft.
So here's to the real ales and Craft Beer Week!