Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lost in Translation

The number of handpumps in NZ seems to be constantly growing although the numbers are still low. For someone like myself who loves cask beer this is great. Of course the vast majority of beer that passes through these handpumps is not cask conditioned but degassed keg beer or unconditioned bright beer. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s a great ½ way house between keg and cask. It is in my opinion not as good as cask at its best but it is a realistic product for a nation of pubs and bars without cellars or staff with the knowledge to condition and care for cask beer. So far so good. There is however a growing trend for putting seriously strong beers through the handpump which I do find strange. For me drinking from a handpump is all about session drinking preferably by the pint. When I see 10%abv Imperial Stouts and 8%abv strong porters being served on the hand pump it makes me think that we are missing the point a little.


Raffe said...

Kieran, do you think there is an abv level above which beers are better served from keg? Say 7-8%? Or is it just the serving size of these stronger beers via handpump that bothers you?

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

I actually don't really think the beer styles I mentioned are all that well suited to keg either. I think they are best packaged in bottle, preferably bottle conditooned for laying down.
But yes the serving size is probibly the main objection.

Anonymous said...

Found at my time at the Coach and Horses in the UK that the Thornbridge Saint Petersburg, a 7.7% (almost) Imperial Stout still sold pretty well on cask. We'd get through 41 gallons in 3-4 days no probs, which was cool for a small pub. Agree though, only ever put on two of our beers above 8% (when at Thornbridge) on handpull and even then, only for beer festivals. Session sells best... even if back then the session beer in question that we sold the most of was a 5.9% IPA!!