If you've ever had the pleasures of drinking a cask beer, you've experienced beer the way it was made for millennia. While casks are almost as old as beer itself, there is a reason brewers still choose to craft casks to this very day.
To quote Dave McLean, founder of Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery in San Francisco, “[Cask-conditioned ale] provides a heightened awareness for the base ingredients, and brings out all sorts of subtlety and nuance. You’re able to discover the additional beauty that’s already there in any well-made beer.”
Cask beer is a completely different experience from that of a typical craft beer. You might notice that cask beers are typically served at a warmer temperature and have slightly less carbonation than a beer on draft would have. Cask aging a beer is quite simple, all it takes is filling a cask with partially fermented wort, adding more yeast to the wort and other adjuncts as you please, sealing it up and giving it time. The following week to two weeks after the cask is sealed, the beer will continue to ferment, producing CO2 and force carbonating the beer inside the vessel.
Although brewing has evolved and new equipment is used that can produce beer on massive scales, brewers still choose to create casks the same way they have been made for ages. Small and unique, casks are a great way to showcase any beer in a new light.
A quote from Atlanta's own Owen Ogletree, founder of The Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, ”People think that cask ale is warm and flat, but it actually has a soft sparkle of carbonation and allows you to enjoy the fermentation character. And it’s not warm—it’s cool, but not too cold, so you really taste the full flavor of the beer. I just really enjoy the unfiltered, unpasteurized beer out of a cask. It tastes more like what beer should be.”
If you would like to experience cask crafting for yourself, we have an opportunity for you at Dry County. On February 3rd, 2018, we will be hosting a Cask Class where you can learn from Dry County's Brewmaster, Steve Anderson, and get hands on cask crafting experience! Tickets are available through the button bellow!
If you'd like to learn more about casks and their history, follow the links to the articles below!