Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Smoke

As mentioned in my last post, there was a bit of replumbing needed in order to serve a firkin at High Street Cafe. It's done. It's not ideal, for reasons I'll get to, but this is the first time that real ale has been dispensed at any McMenamins establishment. Kinda cool, what?

Thanks to these slick Parker LIQUIfit fittings, the handpull can now pull from the usual Golden Gate kegs, or be switched to an adapter that hooks up to the 3/4" nut and tail that screws onto a cask tap. It works. For testing purposes, a few pints were liberated on Sunday after all was hooked up.

So, not ideal say I? It's a fine pint, and I'm sure it will sell well, but we're back to the problem of the physics of beer: temperature, carbonation level and methods of dispense. I get asked many times whether such-and-so can purchase and put on a cask of Brewers Union beer, and have to ask about where it's going to be kept and how it's going to be handled at the bar. At High Street all the beer is kept in an outbuilding in the back at 36°. Obviously this is a problem with cask conditioned beer. It is simply just too cold. As evidenced by our taste test, the temperature mutes some of the smokiness. The mouthfeel is also altered, such that instead of the impression of chocolaty smoothness you get a bite on the palette from the cold. Also, without a sparkler on the end of a swans neck on the hand pull (which is instead this wee little curved neck as seen below) you fail to achieve that tight creamy head all the way down to the bottom of the pint. It's still serviceable, though, and for a limited time you can have a pint both here at the pub if you're geeky enough to want to make the comparison.


Bill Night said...

I don't mean to minimize the historic import of your installation at High Street, but I was lucky enough to sample a cask mild at McM's Cornelius Pass Roadhouse a couple years ago. Does that count as an earlier real ale?

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Only if it was actually conditioned in the cask. Not all "cask" beers are.

Bill Night said...

My post from the event called it cask-conditioned, and I remember several conversations with Corey where he inveighed against counterfeit casks in a very Sobelesque manner. So I'm 99% sure it was. At the risk of drawing his scorn for even asking the question, I'll double-check next time I see him.