Hand Finished in the Pubs Cellar
Cask ale is brewed carefully and skilfully by master brewers. That attention to detail doesn’t stop when it’s delivered to the pub. Delivery is just the first of seven steps to getting you the perfect pint.
Fresh from the brewery, cask ale is only delivered when the brewer says it’s ready. Regional ales won’t have to travel far, keeping those beer miles to a minimum.
The cellar needs to be kept at a constant 11°-13°, the perfect temperature for conditioning cask ale. Storing the beer at this temperatures helps the beer to develop in the cask and achieve the perfect flavour.
The casks of fresh beer need to be stored on their side, on a slanted rack, with the rear of the cask slightly elevated. This allows the yeast to sink to the bottom and separates it from the beer being served.
After being stillaged, a small wooden peg or ’spile’’ is hammered into the ’shive’ covering the vent on the side of the cask. The spile then allows the cellar manager to release some of the naturally occurring C02 from the cask as part of the beer conditioning stage.
5. Tapping and Sampling
After giving the beer time to condition, the cask can be tapped (where a tap is added to the cask, for connection to the beer lines). Before the beer can be hooked up and served from the bar, the cellar manager samples the beer to check for three things: appearance, aroma and taste.
When the cellar manager is happy that the beer tastes good, the cask is hooked up to the beer lines and another sample is hand-pulled through from the bar. The beer is checked again for clarity, aroma and that all-important taste.
Only after that skilful and careful process can the freshest beer on the bar be served.
That whole process can take between three and five days.
Want to know more about the 4 magical ingredients that go into very pint of cask fresh beer?