Cask Ale Redefined: Marston’s Fast Cask

Today Marston’s is announcing their new concept, the Fast Cask. The exclusive can be found at Pete Brown’s Beer Blog: EXCLUSIVE: Marston’s Redefines Cask Ale. This announcement is bound to give the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) a heart attack, but I think that should this concept work, and not be exclusive to Marston’s, could be one of the most important developments in cask ale history.

Here are a couple of highlights from Pete Brown.

On how the Fast Cask works:

Without going into too much technical detail, Fast Cask is still cask ale because it has live yeast working in the barrel, conditioning the beer. But that yeast has been put through an innovative process that makes it form beads which do not dissolve into the beer. These beads act like sponges, drawing beer through them to create the secondary fermentation.

Advantages:

What this means is that Fast Cask ale casks can stand a lot rougher treatment than a standard ale cask. They don’t need time to settle, which means they can be delivered to festivals and events that don’t normally have cellaring facilities. If a tapped cask is knocked, moved or even upended, the beer inside will still be clear. When not in use, a cask can be stored on its end, making it much more practical in small, cramped cellars.

The process means the beer no longer requires finings, so cask ale becomes acceptable to vegans.

Here is why I love the concept of the Fast Cask. I think that cask ale is one of the best methods of serving beer. Unfortunately,  due to the finicky nature of  cask ale, it has been dying out and especially here in America is extraordinarily hard to find. The potential upside of the Fast Cask in England is the revival of cask ale, but the even greater upside should it become available is the growth of cask ale here in America. Unfortunately, the Fast Cask will most likely undergo the same sort of battle that the cask breather fought. Hopefully this time progress is favored over tradition, but only time will tell.

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