Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Week Surrounded by Beer

Firkins at the Ready


Which, I believe, is a good thing! Last weekend was the 3rd Annual Firkin Fest at Boston's. Dave Boston, the proprietor of Boston's (as if the last name didn't give it away), took months stockpiling the fest's lineup. Dave featured 8 casks from Bell's Troeg's, Victory, Rogue, Clipper City, and the crown jewel, Old Speckled Hen from Morland (aka Greene King) in England.

Firkin Tap


I believe I have wasted too much time over the last month blabbering about my love for cask conditioned beer. When you compare a pint of beer dispensed via CO2 to a pint pulled from a cask, the difference is vast...no gas, no fizzy beer, just great taste.

The First TapPulling  a Pint


For the uninitiated, this is how Cask Marque (a UK English cask accreditation organization....yes, you read it right, beer accreditation) describes cask beer:

It is known popularly as "real ale" thanks to more than a quarter-century of feverish and dedicated activity by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). But a brewer and a connoisseur will prefer the term "cask-conditioned beer", for it best expresses the unique character of Britain's great contribution to the world of fermented grain: a beer that reaches maturity not in the brewery but inside its cask in the cellar of a pub. Most beer -- and more than 93 per cent of the world's production is cold-fermented lager beer -- is filtered and often pasteurised in the brewery at the end of the brewing process. It is ready to serve as soon as it reaches its destination in pub, cafe, bar or bier keller, pumped to the bar by gas from a canister. Cask beer is different because it is a living product and gains maturity and flavour in the cellar.


The biggest hits for me were the Clipper City Heavy Seas Pegleg Imperial Stout and the Old Speckled Hen. It's too bad an assembly of cask beer of this magnitude is only a once a year thing here in Dayton.

My Pint


Well that was last weekend, this Sunday, Eric and I will be representing the rest of our Backyard Brewers at a homebrew demonstration at FestivAle. FestivAle is a beer tasting and beer education event held as part of the annual St. Christopher's Festival in Vandalia. Unfortunately, the rest of our Association are all own vacation, so Eric and I have to "perform" alone.

First off, we have to remember not to forget something, because we are brewing "off location" and second, we have to remember that we are "off location". Enough said.

While in England, Wendy picked me up a book on old English beer styles. Most of the styles are no longer being brewed, so I decided it would be fun to take one on for myself. I adapted an Amber Ale which was originally brewed in 1796. Most of the conversions worked out, so I have high hopes for the finished batch. Stop on by the festival tomorrow, taste some beers, and watch Eric and me publicly embarrass ourselves. That, in and of itself, should be worth the price of admission alone.

Boston's Firkin Fest

3 comments:

Curt McAdams said...

I've got to go to this next year.. I love cask conditioned beer... once i get the hang of homebrew, I'd rather have un CO2'ed ale.

Bertuccio said...

Whoa...cool cask ale fest. I am a long time reader, first time commenter. You really need to come out to Boston (the city) in April for NERAX: www.nerax.org. We have over 80 firkins for 4 days and about half are from the UK. We also have NERAX North which is a satellite festival, that alone has around 40 firkins. Love the blog, love the photos!!

Mike said...

@Curt - Yes, next year we must plan accordingly!

@Bertucio - Thanks for commenting and reading! Wow, NEXAS looks awesome! Boston is one place I have been wanting to go and this certainly pushes me more over the edge. I imagine being "closer" to the UK makes English cask ale even more accessible there. I would be in beervana!