Friday, January 6, 2012

Changes to Hopworks Cask Ales?

[Editor's Note: Another excellent guest post by Dave.]

Please excuse this interjection, but I felt the need to sic the blogosphere on Hopworks. This evening we were at the mothership with our children and in-laws (HUB is first on our list with out-of-towners when the kids are in tow) and I ordered one of my favorite cask-conditioned ales, their IPA. The CO2 version never does much for me, but the cask version is perfect...floral nose, bitterness, and the malt comes out shining. Tonight, the pour seemed like a flat, cold CO2 pour.

I was almost embarrassed describing it to the waitress...I felt like a noob complaining about my first cask-conditioned pour. After some well-tipped commiseration, she brought a replacement CO2 pint and relayed that the pub was experimenting with a new method: Lower gas pressure for the cask taps. Huh? Why is there any pressure, isn't it pumped out by hand?  My suspicion is that they are trying to cheat the cask, and I'd like to get informed opinions to confirm. I had a tried-and-true cask IPA before Christmas that was just fine; has anyone experienced the new method?


  1. Do they have a beer engine (pump)? A lot of US brewers will pull finished beer off a tank before filtering and call it cask. The real deal though is cask conditioned ale- beer that ferments in a cask, typically a firkin. Probably need to talk to a brewer there instead of a server to get the straight scoop.

  2. Sad, sad, sad....

  3. I'm not debating the authenticity of what most breweries are passing off as cask-conditioning; that issue has been well covered in previous posts. I would have liked to follow up with a brewer, or even a bartender, but the family situation and late hour didn't allow such diligence. I had assumed that HUB had two cask engines, and there has always been a discernible difference between their cask and CO2 pours (similar to Deschutes, Lucky Lab, etc.). I know how dedicated Christian is to his craft, and am curious to find out what happened here. I'll post an update if I get the chance to dig deeper; meanwhile I'm happy to let the more-qualified do my detective work for.


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