When I lived in Leeds, a couple of times we got a firkin each of Tetley's Mild and Bitter. You had to keep a close eye on them or some idiot would start rocking the casks around or doing something else stupid. But it was worth it to have real cask.
"On the management of Beer in Private houses.Last time I had a cask at home - not my home, but a home wher I was staying - was at my brother Dave's last summer. It was a firkin of Cat Asylum 1963 Red barrel. Very nice it was, too. If a little over-conditioned. I made sure to instruct the kids about what not to do with a cask. I didn't want them buggering up the whole cask when they poured themselves a pint.
(Concluded from No. 592, page 173.)
CONSUMERS must not treat beer quite like a cask of clear water, which, no matter how often turned about, remains brilliant and clear, simply because there is no sediment to shake up and intermix, but which normal amount of sediment I think the consumer will now understand is so essential to beer. The domestic servant, too, as a rule, is a very bad friend to the brewer, not intentionally, but really for Want of a little forethought. On going to draw the beer for lunch or dinner, she suddenly finds the beer will not run without vent or ingress of atmospheric air to counteract the outside pressure ; the vent peg is with drawn, but, horrible to relate, is not returned, being carried away, lost or mislaid, or often replaced in a loose, imperfect fashion, and this free ingress of atmospheric air — which in warm weather is teeming with putrefactive germs, and which germs, on coming in contact with the beer, find here a choice field for reproduction — brings about the rapid decay of the beer.
No beer arrives at a perfect flavour without the presence of a few hops in the cask. These occasionally draw into the tap, which has Very often an open end in the cask,,instead of a closed end with small strainer holes. When this occurs the beer runs very slowly, and the domestic suddenly exclaims to herself, “The cask must be nearly empty, and therefore requires tilting," but which tilting is carried out in the most careless form, seldom leaving it scotched up, but pulling the cask up each time of drawing, producing a muddy and undrinkable fluid, for which the occupants of the dining-room again blame the brewer. The last charge I will institute against the user of beer (though many more might be mentioned) is the one of using a dirty tap, that is, the one removed from the previous cask, and again used without thoroughly washing, secreting mould and fungoid growths, which every now and again pass out into the beer when drawn, giving it anything but a pleasant appearance.
When the beer has reached such a level in the cask that it requires tilting forward, it should be gently in clined and made firm in this position, so that no further disturbance will be necessary until the cask is empty. If this is so attended to, the last glass of beer will be quite as brilliant as the first."
The Brewers' Guardian 1893, page 199.
The cask was just kept in a room, too. Didn't seem to do the beer any harm. Despite it being summer. A constant temperature, that's the most important.
Handling a cask isn't that difficult, if tou follow a few simple rules. I guess with the modern sludge beers it would be even simpler. No need to worry about disturbing the cask and making the beer muddy.