"Yea, I say to you, blessed are the cask-makers, for they build the houses in which dwells the ale."Beer, as God (or Mother Nature) intended it, comes in casks--fresh, alive, and unadulterated. Ensconced in a firkin (kilderkin, hogshead, or even pin), ale that is lively with yeast and not quite fully attenuated is allowed to rest. Perhaps it serves as a tea for additional sachets of hops. Once the yeasts have generated a bit of carbonation, the ale, through no help of man, is ready. Pour, drink, repeat.
Sadly, there's WAY too damn little cask beer in Portland--Beervana's one verifiable fault. Except in April, when the annual Firkin Fest comes to town. There you will find dozens of firkins, enough at least for one afternoon. (Hogsheads, sadly, will be in short supply.) This Saturday, in two sessions at the Green Dragon. You can either pick up tickets in advance, or buy online. I wouldn't advise showing up without a ticket, but I think you can buy them at the door--unless this post generates the kind of interest I hope it does. It's thirty bucks, but you get eight 6-ounce tasters and two food vouchers, which is by any measure a good deal.
Ted Sobel, Oregon's Johnny Appleseed of real ale, plans plant some mild ale at Belmont Station on Friday night--for those of you who can't wait til Saturday.