Have you ever been to Toronado or Magnolia and seen a bartender pulling away at an antique-looking contraption rather than simply nudging a tap handle? If so, you had a front-row seat to traditional cask (or "firkin") beer service. Common in British pubs, the service of "real ale" via handpump is a time-honored tradition carried out at a smattering of Bay Area bars. On Saturday, Triple Rock offers up their annual one-stop cask beer learning experience.
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Cask beer service takes advantage of yeast added straight to the serving vessel, which creates a secondary fermentation. The result of the cask-conditioning process is a natural, lighter and less prickly carbonation. Served at cellar temperature, this style of beer service allows subtle flavors to come to the fore. Moreover, it's an easy way for brewers to expose flavor and aroma-boosting ingredients to the beer. Casks can be topped off with anything from fresh hops to espresso beans, yielding fun twists on old favorites.
For their 11th Annual Firkin Festival, Triple Rock has rounded up inventive brews from some of the Bay Area's best brewers. Brewery reps will be on hand to answer questions about their beers and cask beer service. See below for a partial beer list.
11th Annual Triple Rock Firkin Fest
Where: Triple Rock, 1920 Shattack Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843 2739
When: April 13, 11:30 a.m. until the beer runs out
Cost: $20 ticket at the door gets you 5 tasters (5 oz each). Additional tasters $3 each.
What: A firkin good time! (Sorry, we couldn't resist.) Expect 20-ish casks, including:
Drake's Aroma Coma with Centennial Hops
Marin Brewing 3 Flowers Rye IPA
Bear Republic Rebellion with HBC hops
21A Brass Monkey with orange peel
Peter B's Single Hop Columbus IPA
Iron Springs Casey Jones DIPA
Devil's Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale
Drake's Dry Stout with Blue Bottle Coffee
Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Speakeasy Vendetta with Citra Hops
Lagunitas Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Social Kitchen Beach House Blond Belgian Single with Crystal hops
Ale Industries East Bay IPA
Moonlight Misspent Youth