27 July 2016
We get asked many questions here at BrewDog, but one subject in particular comes up more than any other. And that is is about cask ale. We decided to stop doing cask ale a long time ago because we did not like how little control we had over the final beer. In our opinion, more than half the cask ales served in the UK are substandard in terms of beer quality. We also felt the beers we were making at the time all suited keg dispense better and that cask ale was best suited to lower ABV session beers where the dispense method added often-needed body to lower alcohol beers.
We have long thought there must be a better way to deliver all that is good about perfect cask ale with non of the negatives: no oxidation, no two-day shelf life (which is usually ignored), no inconsistent quality, no uninformed publicans messing up good beer. So, Martin Dickie led a project to apply super modern brewing equipment, a bit of science and a huge focus on the beer quality to see if we can re-imagine what draft real ale is and come up with something much better than cask.
LIVE beer is the result of that project. And it launches today.
You have the chance to taste the very first release of our fresh take on this most historic of British serving methods from 6pm tonight. Every one of our UK BrewDog bars will be unleashing a version of Dead Pony Club unlike any other you will have tasted before. Conditioned in the keg, our session pale ale opens up anew.
This is not BrewDog doing cask beer again. This is BrewDog completely reinventing and re-imagining what draft real ale is for the better and ensuring a perfect pint every single time for the drinker. LIVE beer is about creating a whole new category, and a whole new perspective from which to enjoy beer. World renowned beer expert Pete Brown has been involved in the development and testing of LIVE beer alongside the team at BrewDog. According to Pete LIVE beer provides ‘The amazing qualities of cask, with the quality and consistency of keg’.
LIVE beer is craft ale, conditioned in a key keg, gently sparkling and 100% awesome. Fermented without top pressure, then lightly centrifuged to remove hop debris the beer is packaged and allowed to ferment and condition inside the keg at our Ellon brewhouse, to ensure a perfect pint every time. The beer is packaged with over 2 million living yeast cells per millilitre and in a container which prevents oxygen ingress. With no extraneous carbon dioxide added the Dead Pony Club is served on draft at 9.5°C through a sparkler. It encompasses everything that makes real ale amazing whilst embracing the consistency of kegged craft beer. It is a meeting of minds.
Speaking of which, there's no better person to sum it up than Pete Brown. "To me, cask ale is the ultimate form of craft beer. I understood why BrewDog stopped doing cask a few years ago, because it can be tricky to ensure the quality of traditional cask ale in outlets. So I was delighted when BrewDog asked me to consult on the development of Live beer. It's a reinvention of cask that takes a lot of the hassle away from the outlet and still delivers the flavour difference you'd expect from great cask beer."
For too long people have been hung up on the container beer is served from; a container beer drinkers never even see. And yet the problems related to cask beer don’t lie with the vessel itself but the process behind it and how the container is then handled. The temperamental nature of cask, its short shelf-life and the flavour-dulling ingress of oxygen – LIVE beer removes them all from the equation and majors on the quality of the beer inside, instead.
LIVE beer is a game-changer, and as such we have patented the process we use in its creation. But this is not so we can seal it away - we will gladly share the technical specifications of how to produce LIVE beer with any craft brewery who wishes to use it – all they need do is ask. Industrial brewing concerns who also wish to use the patent are welcome to do so for free as well, on payment of a $500m administration fee, payable up front. In gummy bears.
LIVE beer launches in every UK BrewDog bar (aside from the basement bar of BottleDog King’s Cross) tonight from 6pm, pouring LIVE Dead Pony Club on draft. If you are near BrewDog Shepherd's Bush, Captain James and Pete Brown will be in the house at a special event, kicking off at 7:30pm. Let us know in the comments when you get a chance to sample LIVE beer, and what your take is on our new take on draft beer...