Cask 2018

Usually a rainy Sunday would be spent on the comfort of the sofa. But today is not your usual drizzly Sabbath. This rainy Sunday was all about challenging perceptions and bringing new flocks into the Church of Cask.

When it comes to what’s fashionable in the UK beer world, cask ale has been near the bottom of the totem pole in recent years. Seen as something of a throwback that our sense of Britishness tells us that we should like, the genre is slowly becoming as associated with quality issues as it is with historical significance. And although it may be something our cousins across the pond seem to look at with envy, recent times have seen bigger craft breweries abandoning the method wholesale.

But over this last weekend, the Cask 2018 festival’s mission was to change that perception. Challenging the narrative by serving the freshest cask beer from the Bermondsey brewery arches of Affinity and Partizan, with a line-up of craft stalwarts such as Brew By Numbers, Siren and Wild Beer Co. all on offer.

And they put together a showcase that certainly achieved what it set out to.

Arriving as a caskgnostic, I sampled wares I’d never seen on cask before. The likes of Unity Brewing’s Collision IPA; Left Handed Giant + Stillwater’s collab Cherry Milk Stout – Dot Matrix and Brew By Numbers’ 20|07 Belgian Pale, accompanied cask classics such as Fyne Ales’ – Jarl and Tiny Rebel’s – One Inch Punch.

These weren’t flat or warm, they didn’t taste of vinegar and like the atmosphere of the event itself – they were interesting and exciting. I may have gone in a non-believer, but having tried what was on offer, I left a cask convert. Mission accomplished.

Perceptions successfully challenged, I’ll be looking to try out more venues that keep and care for cask beer well (the key to making cask beer great). And now this is set to become an annual festival (or even more frequent hopefully), I’d recommend you make the pilgrimage – you may just find yourself becoming a cask canonist too.

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