...Alternatively known as real beer, cask beer, real ale, cask conditioned beer, beer from the handpump
- Is a fresh, natural product full of flavour and character.
- Is one of the best tasting, most satisfying drinks in the world when served in good condition.
- Is made from 4 wholesome ingredients: water, malted barley, hops and yeast
- Is an unpasteurised, fresh product containing live yeast (the bio-yoghurt of the beer world)
- Is fermented twice, once at the brewery and once in the cellar of the pub
- Isn’t fizzy or over-creamy because it has no added gas. The light sparkle, or ‘tingle on the tongue’ in cask ale is from carbon dioxide produced naturally during the fermentation process
- Can be identified by the ‘handpull’ on the bar, and the barrel shaped containers in the cellar
- Needs very special care and attention by licensees: they receive from the brewery an unfinished product. The quality of what they serve to the customer depends on their care regime, their commitment to standards
- Should be totally clear and served at a cool 11 – 13 degrees centigrade (cool and refreshing and allowing all the full flavours and aromas to be savoured). There are however, a very small number of cask beers produced which are intended to be cloudy.
- Helps make the pub unique. Because of the second fermentation needed in the pub cellar to complete the brewing process, you can’t buy cask beer in the supermarket. It is live and special and bursting with flavour and aroma – and available only at the pub…
Keg beers, smooth beers, lagers and stouts are different from cask beers. They:-
- The vast majority are brewery conditioned, undergoing only one fermentation and then pasteurisation
- Nearly all are filtered so they contain no live yeast
- Most have gas added in order to give them a fizz or a ‘smooth’ texture
- Can usually be identified by the type of font or tap (they are served by switching on rather than pulling through) on the bar, and the straight sided containers in the cellar.
- Are usually served at a chilled 6 degrees centigrade
- May be served ‘extra-cold’ at 0 to 5 degrees centigrade
Just to add, we love all great beer, including many that are kegged, canned and bottled – and are delighted to see the emergence of the craft beer movement - but this website is unapologetically focussed on the great things about Cask.