In February 2015 Donald and I proudly added two English beer engines to our existing 12 traditional co2 taps. Adding cask beer to our repertoire was a vital step toward our goal of offering classic European beer in its highest quality and in its most authentic way. We will always continue to offer all of your Staas Brewing favorites on our twelve co2 taps as well.
Current casks on the beer engines:
English House Ale 7% ABV: A brew we designed specifically for the beer engines. This beer is deep amber in color with rich tasting notes of caramel and roasted nuts. The rich flavors are nicely complimented by the soft and creamy mouthfeel imparted via cask conditioning.
Irish Red Ale (5.5% ABV)
What is cask conditioned beer?
Also known as a "Real Ale," as termed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in Ireland circa 1971, cask conditioned beer is unfiltered beer that is matured by secondary fermentation in the cask from which it is served, without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. A small amount of new sugars are reintroduced when the beer is placed into into the cask. The new sugars kick start the yeast in the unfiltered beer, causing secondary fermentation to begin. As beer ferments, the yeasts are converting sugars into alcohol, and a major byproduct of this process is carbon dioxide. Thus the beer is carbonated by fermentation in the air tight cask. Cask beer is also traditionally served at cellar temperature (50 to 55F)
What is a cask?
A cask is a large barrellike vessel made of wood, metal, or plastic, used for storing and secondary fermenting beer. We have opted to use stainless steel 10.8 gallon casks to ensure proper sanitation and for durability purposes. 10.8 gallon stainless vessels tend to be the choice type of cask used today amongst brewers in the US.
Why cask condition beer in lieu of forced carbonation?
Cask beer has a much gentler level of carbonation, resulting in a rounder and silkier mouthfeel. Since it is unfiltered and served at warmer temperatures, cask beer is sometimes cloudy and usually shows a slightly more complex flavor and aromatic profile. It’s considered “live” beer since it is unfiltered and has live yeast in the cask (which is how we get the final fermentation and carbonation). Here at the pub we do not use finings (agents used to improve clarity of beer) as our teacher (Tony) is somewhat of a purist and believes that finings remove valuable proteins from beer that decrease the overall complexity and special character of beer. Although, that topic is very debated. Most UK brewers have been using finings for centuries; therefore, I suppose this is Staas Brewing's purist point of view. No opinion seems to be right or wrong on this topic in my eyes.
The most important concept of all: Cask ale is how beer was enjoyed for centuries in the Old World before CO2 tanks and refrigerators existed. CAMRA preaches the ideal of keeping this age old tradition alive, and we are proud to help this cause. We hope you enjoy! Cheers!
"Cellarmanship"by Patrick O'Neill