The recent mention in the beverage trade press of a “table keg” or “table tap” system has caught the attention of a number of multi-unit casual restaurants. I seem to remember a sports bar in Atlanta, GA for a few years ago tapping that idea and getting mentioned in the same media…

Nevertheless, the concept of fresh brew served from a fresh keg is not a new idea. There is a thing called “cask” beer.

This is beer, or ale, or porter or Lambic or any other fermented malt beverage you beer-police want to be mentioned or not, that is served directly from the container to the glass via gravity from an open tap in the face of the container.

There is an art and science to serving a beverage such as the above mentioned. There is a set of stoppers, pegs, and even engines involved. All of this takes time to get used to if you are serving the brew and even more education if you are going to keep it served at the best it can be served. Knowledge of biology and botany and the life-cycle of yeast are essential if you are a beverage manager and want your customers to enjoy that special beer.

“They have cask beer at my local… How can I be sure it is a real cask beer?”

If it is served from a container familiar to beer drinkers as a wood beer cask or “Firkin” that is sitting at a slight angle behind the bar, and the libation is poured directly to the glass from a tap in the container, it has a good chance of being true cask ale. If there is a trace of yeast in the brew it needs no more identification criteria. Try it…

“This is just like my favorite… just a little more flavor… kinda’ nice though… refreshing…”

Let’s go! Not the real thing my friend…


“This stuff’s cloudy… and a little flat… and it’s not cold… and…”

Shut up. That’s what real beer tastes like.