Steamworks Brewing Co. taps specialty beer at the brewpub, Oct. 7

DURANGO, Colo. – Steamworks Brewing Co. officially celebrates autumn at 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, as the “Caramel Apple Firkin” will be tapped for Firkin Friday, Steamworks’ monthly showcase of unique hand-crafted beers.

“We used our German Brown Altbier as a base,” said Director of Brewing Operations Ken Martin, Certified Cicerone®, noting that the beer has a pronounced “bready” and caramel malt character, with a glistening autumn color. “We then added fresh, raw apple cider and a caramel reduction sauce to the firkin.”

Originally from the Düsseldorf area of Germany, German Brown Altbiers have a balance between hop and malt flavors and aromas. Before Germany began brewing lager beer, it prized its ales. Alt, meaning “old,” pays homage to the renegade region in Germany that did not automatically embrace “the lager.”

“During this season of Oktoberfests and the apple harvest, the Caramel Apple Firkin is a perfect addition,” said Brewer and Certified Cicerone® Spencer Roper.

By definition, a firkin is an old English unit of volume, typically a wooden cask equal to approximately one-quarter of a regular barrel, or nine/ten gallons. The word “firkin” is derived from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means “fourth” as in one-fourth the size.

In the United Kingdom, cask-conditioned beer, which in the U.S. is also referred to as a firkin, is known as “real ale.” Authentic cask ale must be kept at “cellar temperature” – about 54 degrees – and is conditioned in its cask in Steamworks’ “cellar,” or actually the basement at the brewpub.

In cask conditioning, the yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol within the cask, and the natural carbonation results from the trapped carbon dioxide occurring as a byproduct. Firkin beer is unpasteurized and unfiltered and served at the cellar temperature – cool but not cold.

Steamworks, celebrating 20 years in 2016, initiated its Firkin Fridays to introduce unusual, specialty craft beers to patrons, and augment its regular, award-winning offerings.