Ale at Barley's
According to the Campaign to Save Real Ale (CAMRA), real ale is defined as beer that is brewed from traditional ingredients, matured and fermented without the use of external carbon dioxide. Real Ale must also continue to ferment due to active yeast left in the beer after bottling. All other ‘ales’ are a fake. Counterfeit. A scam.
Simply put, cask ale is the original method of storing and serving beer. The term ‘cask’ refers to the container in which the beer is stored but it is also the term given to unfiltered and unpasteurized beer served without additional pressure. Once air is introduced to ale it tends to go flat and develop off-tastes. At Barley’s we tap a firkin of cask-conditioned ale every Friday and serve it the way it’s been done for hundreds of years.
Back in Babylonian times a cask of ale was contained in a jar or barrel made of clay or palm wood. Today cask ale is served a variety of ways but no matter the type of container, they all have one thing in common – all contain unfiltered, unpasteurized beer.
Cask-conditioned ale, the original method of preserving beer came under threat in the mid 20th century with the invention of the keg. Introduced in the 1950’s a keg keeps ale chilled and preserved under pressure. By the early 1970’s most beer in Britain was keg beer – filtered, pasteurized and artificially carbonated.
Though real ale could still be found in outer regions of northern Europe and South America, essentially the great stronghold of natural beer was about to be wiped out. It was at this time when the Campaign to Save Real Ale (CAMRA) stepped in to save what they came to term Real Ale.
Today, especially in the USA, only a few brewpubs are keeping the ancient tradition of brewing real ale alive. It has even been said that there is now more real ale being served in the United States than in Britain. Barley's is proud to be one of those brewpubs.