BrewDog launches “real ale"

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

James Watt: wanted to "re-imagine" draught real ale
James Watt: wanted to "re-imagine" draught real ale

Related tags Cask ale Beer

Anarchic Scottish brewer BrewDog has announced the launch of a new, “live” key-keg version of its well-known Dead Pony Club ale.

Thanks to its key-keg production process, and fermentation in the keg, the beer will be compatible with CAMRA’s guidelines on what classifies real ale. The beer comes five years after BrewDog infamously did not attend the Great British Beer Festival for its lack of cask-conditioned ales and focus on keg beers.

BrewDog has refrained from creating cask ale in past years, saying it was too difficult to ensure the drink’s quality across its estate and to free-of-tie operators.

Writing on the company’s blog, co-founder James Watt said: “We have long thought there must be a better way to deliver all that is good about perfect cask ale with none of the negatives: no oxidation, no two-day shelf life (which is usually ignored), no inconsistent quality, no uninformed publicans messing up good beer.

'Huge focus on quality'

“So (fellow co-founder) Martin Dickie led a project to apply super-modern brewing equipment, a bit of science and a huge focus on the beer quality to see if we can reimagine what draught real ale is and come up with something better than cask.”

The beer is fermented without top pressure then centrifuged to remove hop debris, packaged and allowed to ferment and condition inside the keg. It will be available from 6pm tonight (26 July) at BrewDog bars across the country.

Morning Advertiser​ columnist Pete Brown, who consulted on the beer, said: “To me, cask ale is the ultimate form of craft beer. I understood why BrewDog stopped doing cask a few years ago, because it can be tricky to ensure the quality of traditional cask ale in outlets.


“[The new method] is a reinvention of cask that takes a lot of the hassle away from the outlet and still delivers the flavour difference you’d expect from great cask beer.”

BrewDog, despite having patented the process used in its new beer’s creation, said it would “gladly” share the technical specifications of how to produce “live” beer with other craft brewers. 

LIVE Beer from BrewDog on Vimeo.

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