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What Makes a Cask Ale Unique?

Real Ale?


Cask ale is a particular type of beer that’s been brewed for hundreds of years. It comes from the English tradition of “cask” or “cask-conditioned” ales, and it’s one of the most refreshing ways to drink beer around. Cask ale is still popular today, but it often gets overlooked in favor of keg beers at bars. What makes cask beers so special? And why should you order one instead of another kind? Here are some reasons why I think every beer lover should try a pint on tap:

What is cask ale?

Cask ale is a beer served by gravity, without the use of carbon dioxide pressure. It’s unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally conditioned.

  • Cask ale is poured via a hand pump (or sometimes gravity) into one of two types of vessels: either a firkin or keg. Firkins are wooden buckets made from oak staves with a metal hoop at the top that allows it to be sealed with an airtight lid or crown cork; they hold about 10 imperial gallons (38 litres). Kegs are metal cylinders that hold about 20 imperial gallons (76 litres). Once tapped, both types will keep for about four days before going flat and need to be replaced if not emptied within this timeframe.
  • Cask ales are typically served at cellar temperature (10-14°C), which means they’re best enjoyed in winter months when you’ve got nowhere else to go—and could possibly even be found on draft in pubs around London during Great Britain’s annual holiday season!

The history of cask ale.

Cask ale is a beer that is served from a cask without additional carbonation and, in most cases, warmed to room temperature. It’s not pasteurized or filtered (though there are some exceptions). It’s also served warm.

Cask ales are often associated with British pubs, but they have been brewed on this side of the pond as well—the term “cask” refers to the container used for serving beer rather than its origin.

How cask ale is brewed.

Let’s dive in to what makes a cask ale unique. Cask ales are brewed differently from keg beer, which is why it tastes so different—and so good!

First, the process of brewing cask ale starts with mashing the grains. This involves combining those grains with hot water in order to make wort (the sugary liquid that becomes beer). It’s then boiled for several hours with hops added during this time period. Then the wort is cooled down and transferred into fermentation tanks where yeast is added; this causes fermentation to occur, turning the wort into beer.

Second, while all beers use water as an ingredient, cask ales use different types of water than keg beers do: they need soft water because hard water would cause certain minerals found in most tap waters (like calcium) to build up on equipment used during brewing and packaging operations; these minerals could eventually clog valves or pipes on big machines if left unchecked! So breweries must clean out their equipment regularly just to avoid any potential issues down the road.”

Cask vs. Keg Ale.

Cask ale is unfiltered and unpasteurised. This means that the beer contains all of its natural fermentation yeasts, which give it a characteristic cloudy appearance. Cask ales are served from casks by hand pumps in pubs and bars with cask ale pump clips fitted to the hand pumps. A cask ale is served at cellar temperature (about 10-12°C) because this allows it to be poured without causing excessive foaming or affecting the flavour profile of the beer. It also keeps it fresh for longer periods.

Cask ales are usually served in traditional pub glasses known as ‘pints’. However, there are some breweries that serve their beers in half pints or third pints – these smaller measures make it easier for you not to get too drunk if you’re planning on drinking several pints!

Proper cask ale serving techniques.

Cask ale is best served at cellar temperature, which means it should be in the range of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The beer engine that you use to dispense cask ale should always be kept under pressure, as this will help keep your beer fresh and less likely to spoil over time. When serving cask ale, you want to open the tap slowly and close it quickly. This will prevent unwanted foam from being released into your glass while still allowing enough air into each glass for a proper pour. Always remember: slow and steady wins the race!

Good beer should be served in a good glass and cask ales deserve specific glassware, too!

Cask ales are a special type of beer, and they deserve to be served in the proper glassware. A cask ale is any beer that has been fermented and conditioned inside the cask itself, rather than in a keg or bottle. Casks are large containers (typically oak) that hold beer at room temperature, where it continues to ferment naturally until it’s time for serving.

Cask ales typically come out of their casks at about 4% ABV (alcohol by volume), but can vary depending on the style and brewer. You might see them listed as “cask-conditioned” or “barrel-aged” on tap boards around town. Casks are usually served from behind bars with pints—but if you order one from the brewery itself, you may get something different!


Cask ale is a unique type of beer that has been around for centuries. It’s something we all need to learn more about and appreciate.

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Thomas Monti

Head Brewer

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