London Drinker Beer Festival 2017: the joy of cask
The London Drinker Beer Festival at Camden Town Hall which finishes on Friday evening showcased beers from London breweries (and only London breweries in the main hall).
Many were familiar to me, a few were not. There are 90 breweries In London now but I’d suggest that with a few honourable exceptions (Redemption for example) most are usually to be found on the bar in pubs in keg rather than cask format.
There are reasons for this, not least the economics and practical issues of getting empty casks back again for small breweries.
There was a good keykeg bar at the London Drinker festival but the overwhelming amount of beer was sold as cask. In some cases such as One Mile End’s Blood Orange Wheat dipa these were one-offs. Many of the other brewers however do produce regular cask beer.
Even in that context the world of beer is changing though. Some casks were un-fined and hence not crystal clear, something that would have resulted in them not being served back in the day at such a festival I suspect.
I think there is something in the point that a glass of well-conditioned cask beer is the pinnacle of good beer. However I’m very happy to drink beer in other formats and sometimes these work better than the cask.
The point here however against those who think that cask is on its way out, is that with a festival consisting of breweries started in the last 7 years or so, cask is still very much a feature for most.
Pete Brown who opened the festival on Wednesday underlines the point about cask beer and points to what the ‘craft’ beer ‘revolution’ has done for cask here:
Needless to say he does so in a far more erudite way than myself which possibly explains why he is a best selling author while I write letters to The Guardian…