For those who enjoy cask ale but wish it could stay fresh a bit longer, Hugh Sisson, founder of Maryland’s Heavy Seas Beer, has a solution. He calls it the caskerator, and it looks like a standard kegerator. But instead of hooking it up with a regular draft tower, Sisson and his team created a countertop unit with a beer engine and a CO2 displacement system.
“As you pump beer out of the cask, it replaces the head space with atmospheric CO2. The system allows you to use the cask for a week instead of two days,” Sisson explained.
Heavy Seas purchases the equipment to build its caskerators from UK Brewing Supplies. (Update: UK Brewing Supplies is now selling the kit. Kegerator is sold separately.) The system is built around custom cabinets designed by Sisson’s brother and fits inside a mini-fridge. Since its debut, the system has been installed in a handful of accounts, including bars or pubs in Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, New York City and Delaware.
“The most important thing is that if people are serving cask beer, I want them to serve it well,” Sisson said.
While there are some who might cry foul at the thought of serving cask ale this way, Alex Hall, a cask beer consultant, thinks it’s a good idea.
“I’m absolutely right behind what they’re doing there. … Every bar that installs a cask line, whether it’s one of these caskerators or some other cooling system, there will always be a lot of new people to that bar that will not have encountered [cask beers] before. Every cask outlet is education for the drinking public.”
This article appears in the January 2014 issue of All About Beer Magazine. Click here for a free trial of our next issue.