Guess what!? It’s our birthday week (technically anniversary, but we all know what it’s about). So in celebration we’ve decided to tap prepared firkins each day this week. Come taste a familiar beer in a new way!
The term ‘firkin’ is said to harken back to an old Dutch word, ‘vierdikikijn’, which in essence means 1/4, or fourth. In general, the measurement designation of ‘barrel’ was the general measurement of how any good was packaged in its largest quantity. There was no set measurement in gallons, pounds, liters, what-have-you. A firkin was a general measurement of a quarter barrel. In terms of beer, a barrel is established at 31.5 gallons meaning a firkin of beer is just around 8 gallons.
Firkins have a second meaning besides a unit of measurement. It is also a way of preparing beer for serving.
Firkins, if done properly,hold beer that is naturally carbonated by yeast instead of force carbonated by pressure and CO2. Generally, beer is pulled off when it’s a few gravity points away from being finished and put in the firkin with extra sugar and sometimes some fresh yeast. The firkin is then bunged so that none of the co2 produced from the yeast eating the sugar can escape, causing the beer to be naturally carbonated.
Often beer poured from firkins or casks have a softer carbonation and are served at a warmer temperature. This allows different, more subtle flavors to have a more pronounced presence in a beer. Firkins and casks are very popular over in the United Kingdom and have become more popular in the United States as we’ve started to take our beer a bit more seriously.
Come look for our specialty pours all week long!