However, there is still cause to celebrate a strongly British contribution to brewing and beer with Cask Ale. Whilst opportunities may be limited, they are not completely gone. Many pubs, breweries and bars across the UK are doing take out beers from cask (as well as other small package and dispense of course) and our brewers are still working hard to produce some excellent beers for your enjoyment.
So, what is Cask Ale? The waters are muddied a little with cross over with 'Real Ale', which is a term coined by CAMRA, with some people (not completely correctly) using the terms interchangeably. Hence Real Ale can be served from bottle or can, but there is some reticence in allowing kegged beers (which still meet the technical definition of Real Ale) to be labelled as such. CAMRA themselves do recognise that key keg conditioned beer can be Real Ale, although some branches and committee members disagree with this. Cask beer is usually served from a cask handpull or can be served under gravity straight from the cask itself. Confusingly, it can even be served from a keg font; the handpull is often an affectation; long draws from the cellar can mean many cask beers are actively pumped to the handpull.
Cask conditioned beer (and Real Ale) is a living entity; undergoing secondary fermentation in the container it is served from - in this case, a cask. This secondary conditioning of the beer allows for flavours and the mouthfeel of the beer to develop and mature whilst it is stored in the cellar, prior to serving. It is widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of brewing and producing great beer. It's not a specific style in itself, as it can encompass many different styles including but not limited to pale ales, saisons, stouts, lagers and barley wines. The cask beer itself is never served warm (an horrendous misconception), but at cellar temperature (approx 11 to 12 degrees celsius, sometimes even lower at 10 degrees depending on a cellar person's preference) and is then drunk as it gently increases in temperature and the flavour depth develops.
Cask Ale Week runs from Thursday 24th September to Sunday 4th October.
The website, providing details of how to get involved and showing a list of events or other notables is right here: caskaleweek.co.uk.
We have a great selection of pubs on Merseyside that serve well kept cask beer, we've listed a few of these for you to check out, just below.
The Angus Tap and Grind - Liverpool
The Baltic Fleet - Liverpool
The Bard - Prescot
Beer Station - Freshfield
The Belvedere - Liverpool
The Blackburne Arms - Liverpool
The Bridewell - Liverpool
The Caledonian - Liverpool
CASK - Stoneycroft
Carnival Brewing Taproom - Liverpool
CRAFT Taproom - Wavertree
The Denbigh Castle - Liverpool
The Dispensary - Liverpool
Doctor Duncan's - Liverpool
The Excelsior - Liverpool
The Fly in the Loaf - Liverpool
The Four Ashes - Crosby
The Freshfield Hotel - Freshfield/Formby
Gallagher's - Birkenhead
The Grapes - Liverpool
The Handyman Supermarket - Wavertree
Head of Steam - Liverpool
Kelly's Dispensary - Wavertree
The Lady of Mann - Liverpool
The Lion Tavern - Liverpool
Little Taproom on Aigburth Road - Aigburth
Love Lane Brewery Tap - Liverpool
Maghull Cask - Maghull
Neptune Brewery Taproom - Maghull
The Pen Factory - Liverpool
Peter Kavanagh's Victorian Pub - Liverpool
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms - Liverpool
The Pilgrim - Liverpool
The Roscoe Head - Liverpool
The Ship and Mitre - Liverpool
Tap and Bottles - Liverpool
Thomas Rigby's - Liverpool
Three Piggies - Allerton
Trap and Hatch - Waterloo
The Volunteer Canteen - Waterloo
The West Kirby Tap - West Kirby
The White Lion - West Kirby
Ye Cracke - Liverpool