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Tap That Cask, Vancouver

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Posted by : Guest Blogger, Thu, May 22 2008

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Now that summer is around the corner, there's nothing like kicking back with a nice cold one on a sunny patio. But on a cold and rainy night in Vancouver, I'm still eager to spend it with friends and a delicious brew. When I asked my friends if they'd be interested in trying out a couple of local cask nights, they had the right attitude: "Warm, non-carbonated beer? Sign me up!" Luckily, my friends really like beer.

Cask Ale (also known as Real Ale) is based in the British tradition rather than the German lager tradition that most North Americans are used to. According to Wikipedia, cask beer is defined as "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide." The lack of carbonation results in a creamier texture since there is much less air forced into the brew. Cask beers aren't stored in a fridge but served at cellar temperature so they are on average 15 degrees warmer than the traditional keg ale. Produced in extra small batches with a limited shelf life, this is an artisanal brewing process with growing popularity.

My first try at the cask was at Dix BBQ and Brew Pub (871 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC), which runs a cask night every Thursday when the Canucks aren't playing in town. That night we tried a Scottish Cask Ale. My friend who arrived early, and was well into his pint when we arrived, declared that it tasted like weak iced tea. Not a glowing recommendation. This ale wasn't very malty like most Scottish Ales and it was a bit too mild in the flavour department. It was on the warm side of cool and barely carbonated but without that tell-tale creaminess that I was hoping for. We ordered only one pint each before we switched to Dix's very own non-casked hop-laden and delicious IPA. So far, the cask failed to sway.

After a disappointing first go, I was raring to find another cask waiting to impress. This time we tried The Whip Restaurant, which has a cask night every Sunday from 4pm onwards, until the cask runs dry. On offering was a golden hued Bohemian Lager from locals R&B Brewing. Now this was a tasty brew! It was full of flavour and softly carbonated. Highly quaffable. My faith in cask beer was restored!

Not wanting to give guff to Dix, we ventured out again to give their cask night another try. This time the firkin was filled with a yummy dark Hefeweizen. It definitely got thumbs up from the whole table and most of us ordered a second pint (and for some a third) to see us through the night. It's hard to say no to another round when the beer is so tasty.

If you are curious about cask ales, definitely give Dix and the Whip a try for their rotating casks of handcrafted beer. I will definitely be back to see what their next offerings will be… a hoppy IPA, perhaps?

Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make for dinner.  

Bazaar's Food Products posts are featured every other Thursday.


Posted: Thu, May 22 2008 by Guest Blogger

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