If one were to travel to Britain and dine at a local pub, one would expect to see cask ales on the counter next to the standard taps. Pulled from the cellar through a pump and served at cellar temperature, they’re a kind of beer that many enthusiasts go for. Yet this kind of beer is rare in the United States, a nation of beer drinkers more suited to frosty cold, carbonated beer, leaving cask ales out of the market. Yet one group, the New England Real Ale eXhibition (NERAX), is trying to win people over to a coming cask ale revolution, in the hopes that “real ale” can be seen on Main Street USA as readily as it can be found on High Street UK.
I sat down with Mark Bowers, who is both one of the architects of NERAX as well as the assistant brewer of Aeronaut Brewing Company of Somerville, MA, at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston this past weekend to discuss the past, present, and future of the cask ale industry in America.