What the Firk is a Firkin?

Hello, and welcome to the Skull Camp Brewing official blog page. My name is Meka and I am by no means a professional writer. This is my first experience working for a brewery and what an exciting adventure it is shaping up to be. I hope you will follow me as I learn more about this complex industry and work to move my status from Beer Enthusiast, to full on Beer Geek!

What the Firk is a Firkin?
I remember the first time I heard the word “Firkin” in one of our meetings. I was still pretty new and we were planning for the Skull Camp Out at Round Peak Vineyards when I heard someone say, “What sort of Firkin should we offer this year?” My ears perked up. I had never heard that word before. I had spent a few years in the wine industry, but this was a new one to me. A little embarrassed, I raised my hand. “Umm, what’s a Firkin?” I asked. “What? You’ve never heard of a Firkin?” Maybe this is more common knowledge that I realized? The group gave me a brief explanation but decided to do a little more research on the matter so I could hopefully avoid looking like a complete idiot in the future. I’m glad I did because I now see that these things make a regular appearance at Skull Camp Brewing and at our winery, Round Peak Vineyards. I knew these guys were creative before I came on board (one look at the beer list will tell you that) but I had no idea.

So apparently, a Firkin is just another name for a small cask of beer that has been made in a more traditional style. A lot of times breweries use Firkins to infuse a beer with unique flavors. If you’ve ever heard the term “real ale,” “cask beer,” or “cask-conditioned” it’s the same in that this beer is unfiltered and the yeast remaining in the beer, allows it to undergo a second fermentation in the cask, which then adds natural carbonation. Modern methods of brewing adds carbonation at the tap and uses carbon dioxide to pump the beer. Cask conditioned beer uses either gravity alone or a small pump without the carbon dioxide. The beer you receive is a smooth with soft carbonation and is usually served at a slightly warmer temperature. It’s different that what you may be used too, but completely delicious and unique. If you keep up with me on our Skull Camp Facebook page, I usually post about our Firkins before we tap one. The next one we have planned is a Firkin of Green Beer for St. Patrick’s Day. Cliché I know, but it’s fun and that’s reason enough.

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