>Cask vs Keg vs Bottle vs Can

>

The Session: It’s like a Royal Rumble of dispense.
This argument has been rumbling on for a while, and I doubt that I’m going to add anything meaningful to it apart from my own point of view. However, seeing as though one of my favourite blogs, Reluctant Scooper is hosting the session, I thought I’d wade in. Hey, that’s what the blog’s for, so here goes.
Firstly – Bottle vs Can. Along with the true identity of Jack the Ripper, or why people ever rated Rafa Benitez, one of the true mysteries of life is why brewers put beer in clear glass bottles. It simply makes for a badly-kept beer, and one that tastes, no matter what beer it is, like all other beers in clear glass. Skunky. Harsh. Oxidised. Yuck. In the grand scheme of things, putting beer into cans holds no great pain for me; I’ve tried a few average US Pale Ales in cans and enjoyed not only the novelty, but the taste of the beer too. Some purists argue that the can taints the beer; let’s get glass right first, eh? Bring on Canning, I say. My view will stay that way until I drink a beer that’s genuinely been ruined by canning – the process, that is.

As for Keg…well, I have to agree with what Zak says in so much as that I’d like to think it’s horses for courses; some beers suit being Keg-Dispensed, some not so. The turning point for me was when I took a trip to Edinburgh in 2009 and enjoyed a pint of BrewDog 77 Lager on cask at The Abbotsford. Lovely it was; but at the time – for the first time, I might add – that flash of ‘might be better served in Keg’ came across my mind. Since then, there have been many beers that I’ve enjoyed on Keg, and those that I wish I had enjoyed on Keg – such as SummerWine’s Project 6 IPA series. I know Andy and James are pro-Keg, but I really believe this. Powerful, aromatic beers that do well slightly colder are great on Keg, as are excellent lagers such as all-time-fave Moravka and, more recently, Thornbridge Italia. Foley’s Brewdog tap and North’s constant Keg presence means we are sorted in Leeds, and The Grove (Huddersfield) unashamedly flaunts Keg as a dispense system for their US range; and that’s not even mentioning BrewDog Aberdeen’s all-Keg lineup. It’s popular, and that’s just here. When I open the West Coast Good Beer Guide, and am flicking the pages, gazing upon row upon row of Keg taps, I’m slightly romanced by it. It’s not a fad, and there’s no need to be scared of it. It’s just another option.
Old Peculier from the wood? Stouts, lush, velvety Porters, fruity Ales and Brown Ales? Give me cask. Summer Ales, Weiss, Wits and Pales at a Summer Barbecue? Chill those bottles. The best dispense system for any beer is surely the one that suits it the most.
…By the way, if you’ve got the Good Beer US West Coast, flick to Page 97 and check out the Maiden Publick House. That’s what I dream of: a bar in woods, with neon signs in the window and a shitload of great beer. If I win the lottery, that’s what I’m buying. You’re all invited.
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About leighgoodstuff

Blog: https://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass. If you'd like to submit a piece for Tavern Tales, or contact me about any Freelance writing you think I would be suited to, then don't hesitate to contact me via email here.

Posted on 04/02/2011, in Keg Beer, mr foley's cask ale house, North Bar, SummerWine Brewery, The Session and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. >The problem with cans is that you can't really drink fizzy beers (like lager) directly from them because you end up a little … um … gassy yourself. If you're pouring your beer into a glass I don't think it matters.For real ale type beers I'd prefer a bottle (dark glass though) – esp if bottle fermented (oh wait – they wouldn't be in a can, would they?) so you can pour the beer and stop before you hit the sediment.As for cask vs keg – I think that entirely depends on the beer. Can't imagine lagers from cask …

  2. >The problem with cans is that you can't really drink fizzy beers (like lager) directly from them because you end up a little … um … gassy yourself. If you're pouring your beer into a glass I don't think it matters.For real ale type beers I'd prefer a bottle (dark glass though) – esp if bottle fermented (oh wait – they wouldn't be in a can, would they?) so you can pour the beer and stop before you hit the sediment.As for cask vs keg – I think that entirely depends on the beer. Can't imagine lagers from cask …

  3. >Definitely horses for courses, as far as I am concerned, Leigh.

  4. >But of course Thornbridge "keg" isn't really keg at all. It's just naturally conditioned beer racked bright from the conditioning tank into a sealed plastic bag. The gas is just used to exert pressure on the bag to force the beer to the bar, rather than force carnonate the beer itself.

  5. >John – didnt know that – interesting!

  6. >Leigh – what John is describing is the Keykeg, which is how a lot of 'craft beer' is kegged. Or should I say 'kegged'?The last Moravka I had at The Grove was a mess – oxidised, loads of cardboard and (more worryingly) yellow apple flavours. That flies against my previous experiences of it, but thought it was worth noting.

  7. >Now I'm curious about the Grove's line up of US beers! Maybe a road trip needs to be planned!

  8. >Impy – as your attorney, I strongly suggest you make a roadtrip to The Grove posthaste. Ask for Brian, tell them I sent you. He'll do the rest. Zak – ah yes, now I get it. and in that case, then yes, the term should be 'kegged'! A shame about the Moravka though, I do like it.

  9. >I didn't know the Keykeg system was that widely used so that's a new one on me. If this is the case (and I have no reason at all to doubt Zak on this) then the UK "craft keg" revolution isn't really a keg revolution at all. The beer has more in common with cask than keg given it's not filtered, pasteurised, or force carbonated. I'm not sure what to call it but keg it ain't. Although having said that, Brew Dog keg is clearly force carbonated and I'm guessing that goes for Lovibonds, too.Disturbing report about Moravka – hope it was a rogue batch as I'm also a big fan. Have to check it out at the Port Street Beer House next time I drop in (which will be very soon).

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