The truth behind cask-conditioned beer


We are now less than one month away from Washington Cask Beer Festival, the annual celebration of locally brewed, cask-conditioned beer. That inspired me to sit down with an expert an talk about cask-conditioned beer for the latest episode of the Washington Beer Pod, the audio companion to this blog.

“Cask Fest” is one of the Seattle area’s best-loved beer events. Their are two sessions, afternoon and evening. The former typically sells out. Sometimes the evening sessions sells out as well. Every year local beer lovers flock to Seattle Center to drink cask-conditioned beer, but I sometime wonder if they really know what they’re drinking.

Here’s the thing, I’m not sure everybody actually knows what makes cask-conditioned beer different than normal beer. I think a lot of beer drinkers these days just think “cask-conditioned” means the beer is poured from a non-refrigerated firkin on the bartop, usually infused with some crazy flavors like basil and mango, or cherries and Sriracha, but there’s more to the story than that.

For the latest episode of the Washington Beer Pod, I sat down with Bill Arnott, the head brewer and co-owner at Machine House Brewery in Seattle, to talk about cask-conditioned beer, or real ale as they call it in England. Machine House brews this style of beer exclusively. We talk about what it is, why he brews it, what he thinks of the American interpretation of the tradition, and also about the new, second taproom Machine House is opening in Seattle.

Listen to it below or get it on Stitcher.

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