Allen Street Pub Cask Fest" is set for 3 p.m. Friday at the eponymously-named venue.
It will feature nine firkins (10.8 gallon barrels) of beer from microbreweries in New York State and as far away as the United Kingdom. Three of them -- Harviestoun's Ola Dubh, J.W. Lee's Moonraker and J.W. Lees's Harvest Ale -- have not been available in Upstate New York since Mahar's, Allen Street's predecessor, had them in the late 1990s.
The Allen Street Pub recently received Cask Marque accreditation, making it one of only six bars in the U.S. with that credit. Here is how co-owner Paul M. Engel Jr. explains cask-conditioned beers:
"Cask-conditioned beer, known in them UK as 'real ale,' is beer in its natural form before modern technologies changed the standard of how draft beer is kept and served. It is brewed from traditional ingredients and matures and carbonates naturally with a secondary fermentation in the container it is dispensed from -- the cask.
"The unfiltered, unpasteurized beer still contains live yeast, which creates a gentle, natural CO2 carbonation and allows malt and hop flavors to develop, resulting in a richer tasting drink with more character and nuances than standard keg beers.
"It is served without any extraneous gas, usually by manually pulling it up from the cellar with a simple pump affixed to the bar known as a beer engine (also known as a hand-pump or hand-pull). Only a few decades ago did chilled beer pushed by gas become normal everywhere. Optimum temperature is in the low 50s, known as cellar temperature -- below about 50˚F -- the yeast will go dormant. Cask-conditioned beer can also be served by gravity dispense straight from the tap."
The Allen Street Pub is located at 332 South Allen Street. Phone: 526-2455.