Now that you’ve learned the proper pour for kegged beers, you may be curious to learn about how cask beer is poured.
(As a note: This topic is not covered on the International English syllabus for the Cicerone® Certification Program’s Certified Beer Server exam.)
Pouring cask beer with a short spout
Check out this video on how to pour cask beer through a beer engine with a short spout:
- Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle, 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the tap
- Pull the handle smoothly and steadily to fill the glass.
- Straighten the glass gradually as it fills to create an appropriate amount of head on the beer as the pour finishes
As a note, it’s standard in the UK for cask ale to be served with no more than 1 cm (0.4 inches) of foam. But outside of the UK, up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) of foam is more typical.
And just like pouring our kegged beers, when pouring cask beer with a short spout, there should never be any contact between the tap and the glass or the beer or foam in the glass.
Pouring cask beer with a long spout
Alternatively, you may see a beer engine with a long, or swan neck, spout. Here’s how to pour using this set up:
- Hold a clean glass vertically with the end of the spout positioned against the bottom of the glass
- Pull the handle smoothly and steadily.
- Gradually lower the glass as it fills, but always keep the end of the spout below the foam, immersed in the liquid beer
- Allow to settle and serve
As mentioned above, it’s standard in the UK for cask ale to be served with no more than 1 cm (0.4 inches) of foam. But outside of the UK, up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) of foam is more typical.
And as you may have guessed, pouring cask beer with a long spout is the only time we’re ever allowed to have contact between the tap and the glass, as the tap needs to remain immersed in the liquid beer for the duration of the pour.
For this reason, it’s really important to regularly wipe down the long spout with a clean cloth to help prevent a potential draught line infection.
So there you have it! The unique techniques used to pour cask beer.