Friday, February 4, 2011

Firkin Fridays continue at Steamworks

Steamworks Brewing Co. continues with its special monthly firkin tapping Friday, Feb. 4, with the introduction of a chocolate Belgian-style dubbel. The cask will be tapped at 3 p.m.

A firkin is an old English unit of volume, typically a wooden cask equal to approximately one-quarter of a regular barrel, or nine gallons. Steamworks initiated its Firkin Fridays in November to introduce specialty craft beers not suited to large draft production. Previous firkins have included Cherry Vanilla Stout and Holiday Spice.

“The Chocolate Belgian Dubbel presents chocolate through and through,” Spencer Roper, Steamworks assistant brewer, said in a news release. “A slight spicy quality is achieved from the special Belgian yeast. The beer is then sent through secondary fermentation with strawberries. Think chocolate cake with strawberry syrup – perfect for Valentine’s Day.”

Unlike most draft beers, firkin beer is unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally carbonated, or conditioned, in its cask. According to Steamworks Head Brewer Ken Martin, the yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol within the cask, and carbonation results from the trapped carbon dioxide occurring as a byproduct.

“Serving the beer requires a special tap and it’s gravity-poured,” Martin said. “It’s also served at about 55 degrees – cool but not cold. Because it contains no preservatives, a firkin beer is designed to be consumed after tapping – which hasn’t been a problem since we started Firkin Fridays.”

Firkin Fridays will continue on the first Friday of the month, with the March firkin planned with St. Patrick’s Day in mind. Stout-based, this firkin will feature flavors of Irish crème and Irish whiskey.

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