Cask’s Not Dead Fest 2018
In short, Cask’s Not Dead Fest is a celebration of cask beer and its devotees. The first annual Cask’s Not Dead event was held on November 17th in Los Angeles, CA. It was hosted by Yorkshire Square Brewery—a craft brewery based in Torrance, CA, that brews cask ale and traditional British beer—and the LA Brewers Guild—a non-profit organization that strives to promote and strengthen independent craft breweries and help keep these smaller breweries afloat among the monopoly of corporate mega- breweries.
The main purpose of Cask’s Not Dead Fest is to unite beer lovers who remain devoted to cask ale despite the overwhelming popularity of keg beer. It also strives to draw more attention to cask ale in order to attract those who aren’t yet hooked on it but are interested in trying it. The title of the festival derives from the widespread idea that cask ale is outdated and has no real function in the modern world and the goal of the festival itself is to fight that notion.
In order to draw in cask ale devotees, more than 25 different cask ales were served at Cask’s Not Dead Fest. Attendees of the event were invited to taste each ale to explore the wide variety of flavors cask beer has to offer. Cask’s Not Dead only served genuine cask ales that were crafted in breweries located throughout Southern California. A few of the 25-plus breweries that were featured at the event include Yorkshire Square Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, Pizza Port San Clemente, Topa Topa Brewing Company, Trustworthy brewing Company, and many more. Most of the breweries that made an appearance at Cask’s Not Dead Fest are independent craft breweries. Featuring these independent breweries and their beers allowed Cask’s Not Dead to support and draw attention to small, local businesses.
Along with cask beer for tasting, Cask’s Not Dead Fest also included live music, games, and food trucks. The afternoon finished with a competition between the featured breweries over how their beers measured up to the standards of genuine cask beer. More than 300 cask ale lovers and explorers attended the 2018 Cask’s Not Dead Fest. Both VIP and General Admission tickets were available, and all attendees were offered limitless pours with their entrance fee.
What is Cask Ale?
Cask ale is at the heart of Cask’s Not Dead Fest. In fact, the whole event is designed to celebrate cask ale and the niche community of cask ale brewers and devotees. So what is it that makes cask ale so special, and why is it not more popular among mainstream brewery corporations?
Cask ale—which is also known as real ale—is renowned for its natural, unprocessed formula and complex body of flavors. Many devoted beer drinkers swear on the superiority of cask beer over keg beer. A stronger hoppy flavor, gentle carbonation, a smooth finish, and a slightly higher temperature are all defining characteristics of classic cask beer.
Keg beer is usually filtered and pasteurized with CO2 that is added to the brew via an artificial process. Its pouring process forces even more carbonation into the beer. No artificial carbonation is added to cask beer. Cask beer and sugar are sealed together into a container, and gentle carbonation occurs naturally because of the reaction between the sugar and the beer. While keg beers are everywhere from bars to grocery stores, cask beers are more difficult to find and are more commonly found only at microbreweries and at some craft breweries or restaurants that craft their own beer by hand. The only real differences between cask beer and keg beer are in how the beers are stored and poured, but these differences can have a major impact on the beer as a finished product.
One of the main reasons why keg beer is more popular than cask beer is because it is more convenient to make and store. Cask ale requires more time and care to brew and pour properly, and its shelf life is only a few days once its cask has been tapped once. Kegs remain sealed after they have been tapped, so pasteurized keg beer can last for three to four months even after its keg has been tapped.
Cask ale is widely considered to be a historical novelty from the time before keg beer was invented. It is most commonly served as specialty beer in craft microbreweries. If you don’t frequent craft microbreweries, you might not have had the opportunity to explore the world of cask ale for yourself. While cask beer is definitely a niche in the beer industry, it is becoming more popular and gaining more appreciation from dedicated beer connoisseurs. Cask’s Not Dead Fest strives to capitalize on this comeback and encourage even more beer fans to try cask ale and taste the difference for themselves.