I know it's been a while since I've posted but I have to tell this.
Sit right back and I will tell you a tale of woe. It's about thirsty people and a cask of po....et. Poet. I know... I should stick to my day job.
Yesterday I showed up at Hanger 9 a pinch before 5pm just in time for the New Holland Poet (their oatmeal stout) cask party. Cheech was there with tap and rubber mallet in hand ready to whack away. Patrick from Koerner Distributing was by the cask's side. This is where the fun began but not as you would expect. Cheech lined up the tap and gave a might whack or five. The tap would not go in. Cheech tried more. Patrick gave it a try. Even yours truly gave it a shot. We must have tried to smack this thing close to 100 times and the tap would not go in. Patrick finally called for a screwdriver and a towel. He wrapped a towel around the tip of the screwdriver and tried to use that to puncture the bung. To be safe we got a bucket to have below just in case the beer started flowing. When we noticed the dark liquid staining the towel we tried the tap again. The damn thing would still no go in. At this point every smack of the tap is sending a spray of the aromatic liquid all over (I won't be able to wear that jacket at the office until I get it laundered). Finally something flew off - it was the outer ring of the bung. We got the tap in place and tried to get in it but the rest of the bung went into the cask. There was no bung - nothing to form a seal around the tap. The beer was free flowing at this point. Cheech was calling for pitchers - LOTS of them. They were pouring glasses from the pitchers as quickly as they could to keep the pitchers in supply. Once the level of beer was low enough so nothing would spill out the breather hole, we put the cask on end and took a breather.
I can guess what some readers would say: You guys don't know how to tap a keg. This wasn't a keg - it was a cask. It lays on its side. There is a breather hole on top with a plug (and the plug did shoot out at one point during the whacking). At one end there is a rubber seal that you have to hammer the tap in to get the beer out. Cheech got his workout for the evening!!
The beer was worth the effort. (More later...)