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22-06-2010, 10:23
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Karaoke drayman for a morning I am, taking an emptied cask of Revival (http://moorbeer.co.uk/our-beer/revival) back to its source, Moor Brewery (http://moorbeer.co.uk/) on the sun-drenched, green-limbed glory that is the Somerset Levels in the summer (itís a different matter in January when the low clouds and gloom hang about like a pestilence). A momentís chat with Moorís Justin Hawke, about something he told me about several weeks ago ó keg conditioned beer. A need to get it clear in my head before writing about it, as the science of brewing sometimes eludes me (when I was at school chemistry and physics were as mysterious as the reasons why Piers Morgan is a global success). According to Justin, a call came from a Danish importer for a beer or three. No casks to be sent that far (as they are precious for all breweries) and no bottles were ready, so the Danish guy sent kegs to be filled, which would on their return have been served chilled and under gas. Hawke, prior to letting all this happen, did a trial keg of Somerland Gold (http://moorbeer.co.uk/our-beer/somerland-gold), yeast in the beer, and got it served side by side with the cask version at the Queens Arms (http://www.thequeensarms.com/contact.htm) in Corton Denham. On the day, hot it was, the keg was more enjoyable he recalls. And for the purists, please note, was not served under gas, just chilled and dispensed through the normal keg way (ie under pressure but not gas). So Hawke said to the importer that he would fill them with naturally conditioning beer, though due to a lack of finings (he likes to dispense with finings wherever commercially possible) it would be hazy. The beer went down well and requests started to come in from other countries. And then the Queens and the Devonshire Arms (http://thedevonshirearms.com/) at Long Sutton took it. At the latter, the nearest pub to the actual brewery, Peat Porter (http://moorbeer.co.uk/our-beer/peat-porter) goes down well as an alternative to Guinness. Hawke used to live in Germany and cites Keller-type beers as a similar experience. ĎAs far as I can see no one is doing this,í he says, Ďitís a great way of getting cool naturally conditioned beer in the summer.í This concept has been taken further in Hong Kong, where Moorís beers have been put into kegs and the bar concerned can serve them either through a keg font or a handpump. So whatís the big deal? The beer is cooler but itís still conditioning and thereís no gas ó Hawke reports that out of about 100 CAMRA types who have tried it down the Devonshire, only a couple have grimaced and taken the righteous route. Hawke could be onto something here and I look forward to trying some soon.
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