Monday 24 June 2024

Cask is king

I don't get to drink cask beer every week. Let's think when last I could. Right. Last century. Not even the final decade. Perhaps my views are rose-tinted. Or seen through red-raged eyes. Who knows.

For me, cask beer is sitting in the Cardigan Arms drinking pint after pint of Tetley's Mild with Simon. Beer that just flowed down the throat, without interrupting the conversation. Or a Friday night after-work pub-crawl in Leeds. When a dozen pints of Tetley's Mild might have disappeared by the time we ended up on North Street. Lusting for a curry.

Recent trips to the US and the UK confirmed cask's social role. And why, when it comes to flavour and sociability, it can't be beaten.

Cask beer doesn't intrude. It's happy to sit in the corner reading a newspaper. When you pay him attention, with a raised glass, he'll smile back, lifting his own pint. But he'll never talk over you. Or start aggressively pointing a finger.

Other beer may clamour for attention. Waving its arms saying "Look at me." All jagged elbows, flashy clothes and too much cologne.

I've always loved cask beer. Since I was at school. I really appreciate it now, as an old man. Who, after decades of work, is done with being shouted at.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me how modern coffee shops have pulled off what a lot of pub doomsayers have said was impossible.

They created places where younger people would hang out and either socialize or read quietly while nursing a couple of drinks or maybe eating a snack or sandwich.

And it's worth noting that coffee shops tend to have diverse customer bases, ranging from older teens to senior citizens.

They did it not by slashing the quality of their products and wiping out service, but by taking pride in what they are offering. The successful places have a lot of attention to detail and are always thinking about even small things they can do to improve business.

Tending casks is easier than offering fancy coffee drinks. But too much of the brewing community believes it's just not possible to do well.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that why Whitbread acquired Costa? All that experience running outlets etc. I hadn't realised they'd sold that brand to Coca Cola either.

Kevin said...

I don't think tending casks is easier than making coffee. You can make coffee on demand. If you don't grind and use all of your beans today they will still be good tomorrow. You can't ay the same for a cask of beer.