Can Cask

The folks at MacLeod’s have done a bit of bottling in the past. It was good to see low ABV, British styled beers in bombers.

Now, they are embarking on a run of cans….

Perhaps 16oz cans will take off and start a cask can revolution.

Review – Unity 2016 on Cask

Next month, I will review both last years and this years L.A. Beer Week Unity collaborative beers in “from the bottle” form.  But yesterday, I trundled down to K-Town to try a cask version of the beer first at Southland Beer.
The cask was tapped behind the curtain so I only saw a few tools head behind the bar but soon the beer was being pushed through the handle and I got one of the first pulls of the beer. There was a weird bitterness to Unity 2016 with some fruit notes too. Do I detect Watermelon? Certainly not very citrusy. I was expecting the cask to mute and round off the sharp hop edges but this beer is still a little too harsh with some woodsy back end flavors to it.
I was left trying to wonder what the cask presentation added/subtracted from what the beer will be in the most available forms. Will the fruit notes pop more? Will the carbonation add some zing? Time will tell since the bottles will be soon on the market.

Cask Showdown

It won’t be a showdown with bloody knuckles at the end but rather a showdown with Bloody Knuckle as the base beer for some wild, cask beers.

And it all goes down at Smog City in Torrance on the 28th.


Here is the info for the event and if you miss it, you’ll have to wait until March for the next one.  So get your calendars out.

“We’re going head to head in our inaugural Smog City Battle of the Cask!! Each member of our Smog City crew has designed their own cask recipe, yes, even Laurie and we need your help to determine a winner!

At Noon on Saturday, Dec 28th, we will be tapping all five at the same time in a. Who’s cask will win? It’s up to the fans to chose!

In honor of the holidays and the lovely chilly weather, all of the casks will be made using the Bloody Knuckle, our Robust Porter, as the base beer. “

Cask Line-Up
*Fruit and Maple Cask
Contains Dried Orange Cranberries and Maple Syrup

*Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cask
Contains Dried PB, Chocolate Powder and Cocoa Nibs

*Mint Chocolate Cask
Contains Chocolate Powder, Cocoa Nibs, Mint Oil and Vanilla Beans

*Toasted Coconut Cask
Contains Toasted Coconut and Vanilla Beanks

*5th- Raspberry chocolate sticks porter
Contains: Raspberry Purée, Freeze dried raspberries. Coco powder, Cocoa nibs, Vanilla beans

MacLeod Ale Brewing Company


Considering how many British actors are starring in major Hollywood movies, it is amazing that they haven’t clamored for some beer to remind them of home.  The old school stuff from cask.

Well, that dry spell will come to an end (and hopefully earlier rather than later) this year with the introduction of MacLeod Ales.  Based in Van Nuys they project themselves as “the valley’s other production brewery”.

Their brewing plans are to “replicate and celebrate the traditional brewing methods of the British Isles.”

When they start up, an empty spot in our craft beer eco-system will be filled and hopefully it will make our bars more open to cask spots in their taplines instead of 5,000 IPA’s and it may encourage more cask beers from our current and future brewers.

Who knows, maybe in 5 years L.A. will have a major cask beer festival.  For now we will have to rely on MacLeod for draft, cask and bottle.


Session # 48

Here is the topic posed by the Reluctant Scooper:

The method of beer dispense often raises the hackles of even the most seasoned beer drinker. Some evangelize about living, breathing cask as being the one true way. Others heartily support the pressurized keg. The humble tinny has its fans. Lovers of bottled beer, either conditioned or pasteurized, can be equally vociferous.

Perhaps you think that one method magnifies a beer’s impact. Perhaps you won’t try a beer if it’s dispensed in a way you don’t agree with. Perhaps you’ve tried one beer that’s been dispensed every which way.

The question is simple but your answer may not be: Cask, Keg, Can, Bottle: Does dispense matter?

I guess I would have to fall in the slut category. That may not be the most politically correct term but if the beer is good the beer is good.

Yes, a cask may bring out all of the flavors of that English ESB or a nitro may add notes unseen to an Irish stout but I think those are isolated examples. The pale ale is not going to be appreciably (and I am talking the average beer geek not the ciccerone or brewer) different be it from the bottle or can or tap. If (and you knew this was coming) the same care was shown by the people in the supply chain from Brewer A to Beer Merchant Z.

Some taps may be fresher but you have to deal with clean lines. Bottles may sit too long in harsh light. Cans may be set out in the sun too long while being delivered.

A recent example reinforced my idea. I had a Sierra Nevada sampler tray at the wonderful Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, California. On it was Hoptimum. It was too harsh for me on the tip of my tongue and too boozy at the back end. But I also had a bottle in my ‘fridge. The next day, tried again and got the same result.

If the beer is good and it arrived to my pint glass in peak condition, then I do not care. (But I am willing to have people buy me a beer to make their point!)