The Session is a first Friday beer blogging adventure begun by the likes of Jay Brooks of Brookston Beer Bulletin and Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer. The idea is to get a body of like-minded individuals all writing about the same topic, so I figured I’d toss my proverbial hat in the ring and see what happened. Can’t hurt too bad, can it? This month’s host is Simon Johnson at Reluctant Scooper. Kudos, my man.
So, Cask, Keg, Can, or Bottle, hmmm? My answer revolves mostly around the location of consumption: bottles for at home or at a friend’s house and casks/kegs for those nights when I’m stepping out on the town. I will confess that my greatest attachment is to bottle-conditioned beer, mostly because of the license it provides to store beer that I can pull out and drink at my leisure over a longer period of time. Sure, bottles can have problems with oxidation in the long run, but let’s be honest: who has the cash to store whole kegs? And who regularly pulls out a keg and invites over the appropriate number of people to drink it? Although if you are the type of person who ages kegs, and you need help with them, please call me. I’d be happy to do my part. After all, when at home, bottles do provide a greater diversity of options, albeit in the exact same manner that kegs do when out on the town. Given the current rise of canning, I could be easily convinced to embrace cans for the same reason, although I am not sure if a bottle-conditioned/live-beer-in-a-can is a possibility—anyone know?
Kegs and casks are always enjoyable, but I more connect them with being out on the town, with kegs as a stand in for the normal evening out, and casks representing special one-off events. While beer culture is on the rise in Dayton, OH, there are only about four or five locations that have an extensive tap selection, and casks are few and far between. For example, I know that there is a firkin of Hopslam that is going to be tapped locally next week, which I will undoubtedly attend. And I most decidedly enjoyed the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon 420 Cask that made an appearance last April 20th. I’d certainly love to see more casks, but since I live in Dayton, I also need to remain realistic. Until we get a brewpub of our own with cask events every Friday (or even once a month), casks are still strictly special event-grade material. As well, the growth of the craft beer world has reciprocally made some of these events less enjoyable to attend locally—at times overly-crowded and at others a bit too aggressively uber-masculine. While such growth may be good for beer, it is not necessarily so good for me. Remember, kids, beer is not a contest.
Having said that, I do wish, however, I was attending the Bruery’s First Firkin Friday, which represents the type of experimentation and possibility that such an event should embody. They’ll be pouring five different versions of their Saison de Lente: a cask of Saison de Lente 2011, while on draft will be Saison de Lente 2010, Saison de Lente 2011, 100% Brett Saison de Lente 2011, and 0% Brett Saison de Lente 2011. Oh, the possibilities. Think of all the variables to taste that are represented in that line-up. While beer may not be a contest, I still can have beer envy, can’t I?