Saturday, December 6, 2008

Condition, Glorious Condition

A week ago Nick Paige contacted me asking whether I would be able to lend him one of my beer engines and help him set it up in order to serve a firkin of Twisted Hop Challenger that he had shipped in for a workmates party, I was of course welcome to help in its disposal. Needless to say I jumped at the chance, even without the offer of free real ale I would have been there to have a crack at conditioning an actual cask. Unfortunately Nick had forgotten to ask for a tap and spiles so we decided to serve it on end by running a beer line through the keystone with a piece of wire attached to the end to keep the line clear of the lees. On Friday Nick and Dougie whose party it was picked me up from work we assembled what we needed and headed to Dougie’s kitchen which was doubling as the cellar. Martin from the Twisted Hop had told us that since we didn’t have spiles he recommended venting the firkin by piercing the keystone with a needle. We gently hammered the needle in and then slowly removed it with a pair of pliers…

Woosh we weren’t quite expecting the fountain of beer which erupted from the hole covering the kitchen ceiling with beer and raining back down on us, Dougies partner came to the door, looked on with a bemused grin and said in her fantastic Scottish accent that she had never been all that homely so it was fine (remarkable woman), his beagle just got stuck in drinking ale from the floor. We let the fountain subside a little before returning the needle to its hole reasoning that once we knocked the keystone out we would be losing condition out the tap hole around the beer line.

Last night I showed up at the party to enjoy the fruits of our labour, the party was fantastic with a good mix of people from different back grounds and ages , a mixture of regional council employees, neighbours and beer lovers, it was a little like a British Isles club b\meeting with Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Oxfordshire all represented. The BBQ was going, the ale was pouring and it was fantastic! There was a slight haze and the beer was perhaps just a little over lively but it tasted fantastic, it provided a healthy head without a sparkler, in fact it was so fantastic that we drained the cask in 3 hours. Cheers

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