Many bars and restaurants are now offering cask-conditioned beer from a beer engine on occasion. Karl Strauss Brewing Co. is now doing this every Thursday night. The terms "cask-conditioned" and "beer engine" may be unfamiliar to some. The Karl Strauss web site has a nice explanation of these terms, so the following is directly from their site.
"Cask-conditioned beer is an ale that undergoes a secondary fermentation by maturing in small casks (approximately 11 gallons), which give it more developed flavors than draught beer. It is also smoother then keg beer because it is dispensed without the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). Draught beer is pushed from a keg using CO2, while cask beer is pulled out of the cask and drawn into the glass using a siphon pump device called a beer engine. This is the traditional serving technique found in pubs in the UK. Cask-conditioned ales are stored and served slightly warmer than regular beer. The normal temperature for cask ale is 50-55°F. This temperature allows more of the delicate flavors that are developed during the secondary fermentation to be tasted."
Want to try a cask-conditioned brew? Head on down to your local Karl Strauss on Thursday evening to see what is flowing from the beer engine. I'll meet you there!