Cask ale is an incredibly important part of the overall beer picture.

We thought this was a pretty good stance from which to start us off here. Cask ale, often called Real Ale is a beautiful, live product that is so inherently British as to be unique to our rainy isles. For those still a little lost, it’s the beers you see on the bar that are usually served via the use of hand pumps rather than fancy shiny keg fonts. It’s served a bit warmer, about 12 degrees, and, whilst not being flat, it certainly enjoys less carbonation than beers served out of the bottle or keg. It’s a product that requires careful handling and storage, as it has a secondary fermentation happening in the cask itself, making it some of the freshest and most interesting beer available.

We Brought Beer Cask Ale Festival

To celebrate our first birthday we are putting on a 10 day cask beer festival in the shop from 6th – 16th August. With 6 different beers on at all times, we’ll be featuring breweries such as Burning Sky, Magic Rock, Cloudwater, Salopian, Gipsy Hill and the newly launched Wimbledon Brewery.

Launch Night Tasting

On Wednesday 5th August, we are lucky enough to have the legendary brewer Derek Prentice coming to our shop to launch our cask beer festival in style with a talk and tasting of the beers being tapped that night. Tickets for this event are free but please email to get on the list.

Having started out with Truman’s brewery when he was a teenager, Derek quickly established himself as one of London’s leading brewers, going on to become a key brewing figure for both Young’s and then Fuller’s. He has now thrown his hat in with the new Wimbledon Brewery, and will be talking about their beer, as well as the history of cask ale in general.

If you’re still unsure of his pedigree, the British Guild of Beer Writers voted him Brewer of the Year in 2013.

So come on down next Wednesday to meet one of the greatest brewmasters and begin our 10 day, first anniversary celebrations!

A little bit of history

Cask beer was the norm right up until the middle of the 20th century. However, the advent of CO2 infused keg beers, coupled with the consolidation of the UK’s brewing industry nearly killed it off. Then along came CAMRA, an organisation setup with the express intention of saving real ale from extinction. The rest is history. Their campaigning and their dedication to a unique form of dispensing beer not only saved real ale from being consigned to the history books, it helped to launch a new beer revolution, one which has produced a beer landscape in which over 1500 breweries thrive, the vast majority of them producing beautiful, live real ales served from a cask.

Why we usually serve kegged beer

The size constraints of our small shop mean that serving kegged ales is much more practical than serving cask. Whilst we would love to serve a bit of real ale from time to time, it is no bad thing that we serve keg. Advances in all sorts of packaging processes (particuarly the advent of the key keg) mean that nowadays, keg beer is no worse than cask beer in terms of the quality you receive. Many craft brewers package their beers in both keg and cask, whilst some prefer just to use keg because for certain beers (particuarly stronger, hoppier ones), serving a bit colder and a bit more carbonated improves the drinking experience. In the USA, all craft beer is served carbonated from a keg.

So the beer we serve for growler fills and schooners is in no way inferior to cask real ale. It’s just different.