I’m writing this the night before Christmas Eve, sitting in a pub (shocker, I know) drinking but I could not be more excited because this pub has a hand pump and the beer I ordered is on cask! This holiday weekend, Birdsong Brewery’s Free Will Pale Ale is What’s On Tap!
If you did not know what the hand pump thing-a-ma-jig is at your favorite bar, it is a “cask hand-pump.” Cask Ales, in short, are unfiltered and unpasteurized beer which is conditioned and served from a cask without added pressure; which means on first sip you mistakenly think the beer is “flat.”
Also, beers on cask are typically served at temperatures that are considered “warm,” 55 degrees. However, beers served on cask generally give off more of the beer’s “pure” flavor; without having to worry about the carbonation you get a more intense flavor rush. Free Will Pale is a very mild drinkable Pale Ale. The beer’s flavor of citrus and floral perfectly balances the hoppy mild bitterness that ends each sip. There is also a bit of sweetness to this brew; yes, there is some malt flavor to it, but I taste more of the sweet floral and hops than anything else.
I am pairing this Pale Ale with a goose. Yes, goose! Along with this pub’s tap list, this weekend they are serving a traditional English Christmas Day dinner, goose and oyster stuffing. Being the refined gentleman that I am, I, of course, am partaking. What I love is how the slight gamey goose taste plays off the beer’s mild bitter flavors. In summation, today’s lesson – Free Will Pale is awesome and anytime goose and/or a beer is on cask order it immediately!
Alcohol by Volume: 5.5
Hop Bitterness (IBU’s): 42
Color: Light Amber
Bittering Hops: Columbus
Finishing Hops: Willamette, Fuggle, Galena
Malts: 2 Row Pale, Victory Malt, Red Wheat Malt, Caramel 20L Malt