Cask Condition Beer at the Arrow & Loon in Ottawa

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ScottyJ77
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Cask Condition Beer at the Arrow & Loon in Ottawa

Postby ScottyJ77 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:29 pm

It has been brought to our attention that the quality of the cask condition beers at the Arrow & Loon was of poor quality and that was the reason for the slow demise and movement of these products. After hearing and seeing the importance that Casks can have in our pub I have made it my own personnal mission to learn as much as I can about Cask beer and learning as much as I can to ensure the best possible quality. One of the biggest issues was being able to move the casks fast enough, so to remedy this situation we have done 2 things; First - we have now started to to order the Pin sized keg which only holds 700oz; Second - I have joined Bar Towel and started this post which I will regularly update to let eveyone know what Casks we have on tap and when it was tapped. I still have much learning (drinking) to do which I'm happy to do but wouldn't mind any pointers, opinions and reviews of the casks we are serving. We have 3 engines and I will be changing brands frequently with most coming from Beau's, Scotch Irish & Heritage brewing companys.
Cheers,
Scotty J
ScottyJ77
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Postby ScottyJ77 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:34 pm

Friday November 26th 2010

On tap

Black Irish Stout (Scotch Irish Brewing) tapped today at 11pm

Black Current Rye Lager (Heritage Brewing) tapped today at 10pm
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Ralphus
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Postby Ralphus » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:52 pm

Thanks for the update and keep it up. I haven't been to the Loon in a while but may start heading here if the beer situation improves.
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notdan
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Postby notdan » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:34 am

Ditto on the above post. I'll be sure to drop in over the Exmus break while I'm back in Ottawa.
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hops are your friend
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Postby hops are your friend » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:02 pm

This is a (potentially) very good change. We had given up ordering cask ales at the Loon for several years since the quality was almost always less than acceptable.

A first suggestion is to make sure you understand how cask ale should be handled. A useful site is http://www.cask-ale.co.uk/realale3.html but I'm sure there's lots of other places to get good info (e.g. CAMRA). Maybe talk to (or visit) some of the pubs in Toronto that do cask well (e.g. Volo, Victory, C'est What). Without proper handling you will never get consistently good results with cask ale.

Here's some other suggestions. First thing is to simplify everything for a while. Try just using 1 engine to see what the turn-over is going to be. Figure out what beer style sells and stick with it.

Figure out what days of the week have the best sales of cask ales and ensure your cask is in good shape for those days. If the recommended life of a pin is 3 or 4 days (which I think is fairly accurate) then you may have to have some days where no cask ale is available. e.g. it would make no sense to start a new pin on a Monday if you know it will just sit around until Fri/Sat.

After getting the basics running smoothly, and hopefully seeing increased volumes due to better quality, you can add a second cask ale for the high volume days. Pick a different beer style to offer some real choice.

You could start scheduling 'tapping the pin' events, or at least advertise (in advance) when they are going to be tapped. e.g. tap a new pin every Thursday at 5pm. This could fit in well with any seasonals that are released by the local breweries.

One problem you'll have to overcome is the limited possibilities available at the local breweries. It would be great if Beau's made a good bitter, or even if they had their IPeh available year round. Heritage/ScotchIrish always seem to have quality issues, which adds another wildcard for you to deal with. I don't think Kichesippi or HogsBack are really options right now.

I'm certainly no expert, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but I wish you good luck - Ottawa needs good cask ales!
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Postby Kel Varnsen » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:37 pm

I agree that these changes are good to hear. I have had cask beer twice at the A&L and the first time was Festivale during OCB week which was good but not great. The second time was Sgt. Major's in september and it was pretty bad. I will totally follow this thread and see how the changes work.

It would probably also be worth it to set up the pub's webpage, or at least a facebook page which can be regularly updated to let people know what the latest cask is.

As far as selection goes, I am wondering how easy it would be to get casks from some of the Toronto area breweries, and how well they would travel. For that matter any chance of getting some casks from the UK? Because that would be awesome.
ScottyJ77
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Postby ScottyJ77 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:54 pm

Friday December 12 2010

Black Currant Rye Lager (Heritage) tapped 5:30pm

John By Imperial Stout (Scotch Irish) tapped 6:00pm

Black Irish Porter (Scotch Irish) tapped 8:30pm
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hops are your friend
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Postby hops are your friend » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:28 pm

ScottyJ77 wrote:Friday December 12 2010

Black Currant Rye Lager (Heritage) tapped 5:30pm

John By Imperial Stout (Scotch Irish) tapped 6:00pm

Black Irish Porter (Scotch Irish) tapped 8:30pm


I hope this update doesn't mean you had the first pair of casks on for almost 14 days. That seems much longer than I thought was reasonable for casks. If you did, what is your set-up to ensure that the cask ale stays in good condition for that long period of time?
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Postby cfrancis » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:08 pm

This is a great thread. I've wanted to go to the Loon for some cask ales and on the times that I've gone, there wasn't any.

I'll keep tabs on this thread and hopefully get in on some of these casks. Might I suggest starting a facebook group or something to increasing exposure in order to increase foot traffic. Look to someone like Volo in Toronto for ideas of how to get more people to kill the casks in a timely fashion.
codfishh
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Postby codfishh » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:31 pm

Yeah I agree great idea to keep everyone updated on when and what casks are being tapped.

A facebook group or a twitter feed would be a good idea, or if you just want to keep it on bartowel, maybe a sticky with the thread named Current Arrow and Loon casks or something. People might miss this one if they aren't looking closely.
codfishh
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Postby codfishh » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:32 pm

Hmmm... you'd think I'd been dipping into some casks already, disregard the part about the thread name. :)
ScottyJ77
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Postby ScottyJ77 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:35 pm

hops are your friend wrote:
ScottyJ77 wrote:Friday December 12 2010

Black Currant Rye Lager (Heritage) tapped 5:30pm

John By Imperial Stout (Scotch Irish) tapped 6:00pm

Black Irish Porter (Scotch Irish) tapped 8:30pm


I hope this update doesn't mean you had the first pair of casks on for almost 14 days. That seems much longer than I thought was reasonable for casks. If you did, what is your set-up to ensure that the cask ale stays in good condition for that long period of time?


No it doesn't, I was completely out for about 5 days. We do keep pur casks slightly refrigerated which helps them keep for a bit longer. As of now I am almost out of all three that I have and have a cask of Beau's Night Marzen on the way.
Kel Varnsen
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Postby Kel Varnsen » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:32 pm

ScottyJ77 wrote:
hops are your friend wrote:
ScottyJ77 wrote:Friday December 12 2010

Black Currant Rye Lager (Heritage) tapped 5:30pm

John By Imperial Stout (Scotch Irish) tapped 6:00pm

Black Irish Porter (Scotch Irish) tapped 8:30pm


I hope this update doesn't mean you had the first pair of casks on for almost 14 days. That seems much longer than I thought was reasonable for casks. If you did, what is your set-up to ensure that the cask ale stays in good condition for that long period of time?


No it doesn't, I was completely out for about 5 days. We do keep pur casks slightly refrigerated which helps them keep for a bit longer. As of now I am almost out of all three that I have and have a cask of Beau's Night Marzen on the way.


Wow cask night Marzen sounds interesting, hopefuly you will post when it is available since I would really like to try that. Also any luck getting casks from breweries other than heritage or beaus?
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inertiaboy
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Postby inertiaboy » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:31 pm

Kel Varnsen wrote:Wow cask night Marzen sounds interesting


The Cheshire Cat had this as a cask last year and it worked really well. Definitely worth keeping an eye open for.
ScottyJ77
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Postby ScottyJ77 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:38 pm

Thursday Dec 30th 5:30pm
tapped a new cask of Black Irish Porter (Scotch Irish)

Still waiting to tap John By Imperial Stout (Scotch Irish)

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