Beer to Bar
Once the beer is fermented, it can go one of two ways. It will either head to the cask racking line where finings are added. This makes the yeast which is left in the cask coagulate, so that when it settles, it gives a bright beer. The yeast that is left in the cask gives the beer an extra burst of antioxidants and B-vitamins, and gives the beer natural carbonation. Cask beer has an optimum age which lies between two and five weeks. This means that the beer is only sent out to pubs once it reaches this stage to make sure it is of the highest quality when it finely poured into a glass at the pub.
Of course, the beer can also go the other route, which is brewery conditioning. This means that the yeast is removed and the beer is chilled below zero degrees, and goes through a process called maturation. After a week or so, the beer is moved to a ‘bright beer tank’ where extra carbon dioxide is added to give it extra fizz. The beer will then travel to the canning, bottling or keg line where it is pasteurized to preserve it.
After this, it goes to the great British institution – the pub. For cask beer, it is now up to the publican to make sure that the beer maintains its high quality. This means that lines must be cleaned regularly and the beer must be served at the right temperature.
The process of making beer has been the same for hundreds of years. Cask beer is unique to Britain, as is the pub, and we should all be proud of the part we play in delivering that pint of foaming, frothy ale that is bursting with taste.