The New England Real Ale eXhibition starts a week from tonight, so it’s past time for my annual attempt to explain why I think cask-conditioned beer is so special. “Cask-conditioned” is the awkward technical term for “the yeast is allowed to make the beer naturally bubbly right in the vessel from which it’s served.” It’s the way all beer used to be carbonated until the overwhelming convenience of chilled, filtered, kegged beer took over nearly every bar. Only in England did beer drinkers organize (or should that be organise) enough to declare that traditional beer was “real ale” and there needs to be a place for it. And the reason why it’s worth preserving is flavor.
There’s plenty of strong flavors in American craft beers, but casks are generally more subtle. Cask tends to lure you in with floral or fruity aromas, and sneak up on you with sweet malts. It inspires quiet poetry. And another glass.
But in the end, the only way really understand is to come to NERAX and try it.