Tom Cizauskas of Yours For Good Fermentables is running this month's edition of The Session. He is doing such a good job he has posted somewhere between four and 27 different posts on the subject just on his own site. His question for this month is broad, very open ended:
I'd like to return to essays on a beer style, or more precisely, a beer procedure: Cask-conditioned ale. Cask-conditioned ale —or "real ale" as it is called, somewhat boastfully, by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), a beer consumer advocacy group in the UK— is defined by that organization as "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." Viewers of this blog have read my opinions on cask-conditioned ale, and probably once too often. So, let's hear yours, and not only yours. Why not invite brewers and drinkers and bemused casked-spectators to contribute essays for the Session?
That is a good question. A great question and more importantly a very beer centric question. There have been too many first Fridays of the month where I have had to scratch my head and ask "why the heck was this topic chosen?" or "why the heck have we drifted so far from beer?" So, thanks Tom. Thanks for bringing it all back home.
One problem. No access to cask ale. I think there is one hand pump in my town and it's not serving my favorite beer at the place. I grew up in another city where I probably had plenty of pints of hand pulled cask ale but I can't tell you if it really was. How am I supposed to remember? I mean it was twenty years ago.
But there once was a cask. It was a 25 litre heavy plastic cask made in the UK. A cask that I filled with a beer I brewed on 5 January 2002 and drained with two pals on 8 February - a 3.9% all Goldings pale ale. I still have my home brewing log though the plastic cask is long gone, left with an Anglican priest pal of mine. Looks like I used about 3 ounces of hops in about 22 litres including a half ounce dry hop. The whole thing was drained on a gravity drop in one evening without any back pressure at all. Note on 9 February: "finished entire cask with Fritz and Crawford - very nice and not burdensome the next day." Neither was the priest, by the way. Shocking that I did not write down anything about the pear fruit in the malt from the Maris Otter just the fact that I didn't have a split skull. Priorities.
I dimly recall that there was a trip everyone else took to the in-laws. I dimly recall that more than Fritz and Crawford were suppose to come over. Other than that I don't really even dimly recall. That was a lot of good tasting cask beer. Oh, to be 38 again.