If you are a regular reader here, you may have caught some of the trends of things I enjoy talking about. A big hot button being real ale or cask conditioned beer. Eventually I may actually finish the current kegerator project, which will mean it is time for another big pub project. Doing a little poking around I found this at the BYO website. Could be an interesting undertaking.
When someone talks about “real ale” they are talking about beer that is naturally carbonated (versus being forced carbonated with CO2). Beer carbonated naturally tends to have a softer and creamier mouthfeel. For a beer to be called real ale it must be matured in the container in which it is to be dispensed. The dispension of the beer can not be done by the use of outside CO2.
In the 1970s CAMRA (the campaign for real ale) in Britain began a movement to protect traditional cask conditioned beer. Because of their efforts real ale has made a resurgence. It is slowly gaining a foothold in the US. Though this article is a little old, Eric Asimov does a good write up that leads us to what we are beginning to see even more of now.
Some interesting bits about countries other than Britain. The Germans have a strong history of naturally fermented beers. By Krausening their beers they are able to naturally condition. This is a way of adding fresh wort to fermented beer, taking advantage of the yeast present to bring about natural carbonation.
Historically, Belgian beers have predominantly been refermented in the bottle. Also because they are bottled they are served without the aid of outside CO2. The rules of CAMRA were extended to include them as real ale.
Time for a pint…