As the global dining scene experiments and matures, cask ale is quickly becoming the perfect partner to pair craft beer with good food. Young Canadians, bored with adopted tastes from mom and dad for sophisticated sauvignon blanc, are shifting to cask ale as their preferred drink when enjoying a lone pint or paring it with a meal. From trendy, young women sipping cask in the dining room at Toronto’s upscale pub The Oxley, to award-winning brewers like Halifax’s Granite Brewery, cask ale interest is boosting Canadian culture to new levels.
For centuries, men and women in many cultures have been preserving quality alcoholic beverages—vintners carefully oversee the harvesting of fine grapes to produce the best wines, and distillers painstakingly observe aging bourbon to ensure each sip abides by the lore that birthed it. Good beer is no different. With cask-conditioned ale, cellarmans are tasked with promoting the beauty in each cask of beer sold—whether they’re developing a range of aromas and flavours, or nurturing the brew by serving it in a manner and temperature that complements its profile. What’s enjoyed in the pint glass is a laborious process involving dedication to a fine craft.
The explosion of craft beer onto the bar and dining scene has only fueled excitement about unique brews popping up all over the country—add to this the growth in awareness of cask-conditioned ale—Canadians are quickly becoming savvier beer drinkers. With increased recognition, passionate supporters are quick to point out that cask-conditioned ale isn’t merely a style, but an attentive brewing process.