I was too tired to go out and drink cask beer myself last night, so we thank Ben for the scoop on The Happy Gnome’s new cask beer program. He spoke with one of the owners, Nick Miller and got the skinny… Starting this week with the Surly kickoff, The Happy Gnome will have 3 gravity fed cask beers on tap. They will post the week’s offerings in City Pages and tap them each Wednesday. They will be pumping CO2 in on top to keep them fresh and will have cooled blankets on them. They will be 10 gallon casks so it will likely last a couple days. To start off they will have Surly, Summit, Bells and two Belgian beers rotating. There is currently a selection of 80 different cask beers they can select from.
FYI Ryan – It’s http://www.thehappygnome.com.
That sounds delicious.
I’d rather they just set up those casks real-ale style w/o any CO2 pumped on them.
But hey….I’m not going to complain about any bar with casks/beer engines at this point! I’ll take any cask situation they’re pouring.
The CO2 is only added to keep the air out. Just a blanket of it in the top. It’s not used to force the beer out at all. Other’s use the same technique. Keeps ya from getting a nasty beer if you don’t get it the day they tap it.
I know…I know. But “real-ale” according to the “Campaign for Real Ale” (see camra.org.uk) should be with out ANY CO2, including the blanket.
The argument is that the slight oxidized taste which some might call “nasty” is supposed to be there. If it gets too oxidized you just blend it with newer casks. Or just learn to appreciate the real ale flavor.
Real ale: “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”.
The way I read CAMRA’s statement is that there is no CO2 used in the serving (pushing) of the beer. A blanket of CO2 is not used in the serving of the beer, it has a different use.
CAMRA’s “rules” only work if you run through the cask in a couple of days time. Not an issue in England, but in MN it could be. Gets kind of expensive if you’re dumping half casks all the time. Here’s something from 10 years ago…
“Peter Austin, who pioneered microbrewing in England in the 1970s, has called on the Campaign for Real Ale to accept the use of nitrogen/CO2 gas through a cask breather on cask-conditioned beer. “Not using a cask breather is costing the small brewer very dear,” he said. “Without it, every pint of beer drawn means that a pint of ordinary air from the pub cellar is drawn into the cask. You may as well keep the beer in a bucket.” Austin, 75, has set up microbreweries around the world, although many no longer follow his admonishment that no beer should travel farther than a horse can walk in a day (about 20 miles).”
The way I read the CAMRA statement “without extraneous CO2″….would be exactly that, without ANY CO2.
I guess the way I look at it, if a cask “night” or “weekend” is hyped up enough by the brewery or pub, the brewer could potentially serve a “real ale” on cask without beer gas or CO2.
All I am trying to say is that I think it would be cool if a pub every once in a while had a “real ale” cask on hand just to compare against…or even blend with other casks of newer ale just like the old days.
But again, I am not going to complain about anyone serving any type of beer on cask 🙂
We (Surly Brewing Co)are doing that just about every wednesday.
See Cask Surly at Triple Rock entry.
FWIW cask beer w/o a breather can be outstanding, but when it goes “off” its stale and maybe even sour.I dont’ think Mpls/St Paul cask beer newbies should be subjected to that risk………….
Details on this event soon will be on TheHappyGnome.com check back late next week.
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