November 3, 2010
Product Review: Cellarmanship
I was glad to put my hands on a copy of Patrick O'Neill's Cellarmanship. It's distributed by CAMRA. I've been trying to get a copy for some time but it's been difficult to find any where in the US for some reason. Until now! NB now has them in stock.
Cellarmanship takes you through the process of tapping, making, and using cask ales the way they were meant to be consumed. It's full of technical info that covers literally every aspect of cask ale, from cask types and sizes, to tapping and dispensing. It's written in a way that is extremely informative without being too dry or long winded. O'Neill begins with a basic overview of what cask ale is, explains the usage of cask ale equipment, and goes on to describe some of the principles at work in using casks. Real ale is, in a way, simpler than force carbonated kegs, but the terminology and equipment is probably foreign enough to us, that it may seem confusing.
Overall, the scope of this book is pretty narrow: it relates to real ale served from casks, and some of it is completely irrelevant to cask ale fans outside the UK but If you're interested in serving ale from casks, or real ale (or if you just love British beer, like I do) I think the book is a good read. In terms of a resource, it's as complete as anyone could hope for. It's probably with good reason that it's served as the guide for real ale serving and cask usage in England for nearly 30 years. Cellarmanship is nice addition to any beer geek library and is small enough that it can fit into your back pocket for daily reference for those in the industry, as well.