A break from the past

We get asked many questions here at BrewDog, but one subject in particular comes up more than any other. And that is is about cask ale. We decided to stop doing cask ale a long time ago because we did not like how little control we had over the final beer. In our opinion, more than half the cask ales served in the UK are substandard in terms of beer quality. We also felt the beers we were making at the time all suited keg dispense better and that cask ale was best suited to lower ABV session beers where the dispense method added often-needed body to lower alcohol beers.

We have long thought there must be a better way to deliver all that is good about perfect cask ale with non of the negatives: no oxidation, no two-day shelf life (which is usually ignored), no inconsistent quality, no uninformed publicans messing up good beer. So, 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 re-imagine what draft real ale is and come up with something much better than cask.

LIVE beer is the result of that project. And it launches today.

You have the chance to taste the very first release of our fresh take on this most historic of British serving methods from 6pm tonight. Every one of our UK BrewDog bars will be unleashing a version of Dead Pony Club unlike any other you will have tasted before. Conditioned in the keg, our session pale ale opens up anew.

This is not BrewDog doing cask beer again. This is BrewDog completely reinventing and re-imagining what draft real ale is for the better and ensuring a perfect pint every single time for the drinker. LIVE beer is about creating a whole new category, and a whole new perspective from which to enjoy beer. World renowned beer expert Pete Brown has been involved in the development and testing of LIVE beer alongside the team at BrewDog. According to Pete LIVE beer provides ‘The amazing qualities of cask, with the quality and consistency of keg’.

LIVE beer is craft ale, conditioned in a key keg, gently sparkling and 100% awesome. Fermented without top pressure, then lightly centrifuged to remove hop debris the beer is packaged and allowed to ferment and condition inside the keg at our Ellon brewhouse, to ensure a perfect pint every time. The beer is packaged with over 2 million living yeast cells per millilitre and in a container which prevents oxygen ingress. With no extraneous carbon dioxide added the Dead Pony Club is served on draft at 9.5°C through a sparkler. It encompasses everything that makes real ale amazing whilst embracing the consistency of kegged craft beer. It is a meeting of minds.

Speaking of which, there's no better person to sum it up than Pete Brown. "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. So I was delighted when BrewDog asked me to consult on the development of Live beer. It's 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."

For too long people have been hung up on the container beer is served from; a container beer drinkers never even see. And yet the problems related to cask beer don’t lie with the vessel itself but the process behind it and how the container is then handled. The temperamental nature of cask, its short shelf-life and the flavour-dulling ingress of oxygen – LIVE beer removes them all from the equation and majors on the quality of the beer inside, instead.

LIVE beer is a game-changer, and as such we have patented the process we use in its creation. But this is not so we can seal it away - we will gladly share the technical specifications of how to produce LIVE beer with any craft brewery who wishes to use it – all they need do is ask. Industrial brewing concerns who also wish to use the patent are welcome to do so for free as well, on payment of a $500m administration fee, payable up front. In gummy bears.

LIVE beer launches in every UK BrewDog bar (aside from the basement bar of BottleDog King’s Cross) tonight from 6pm, pouring LIVE Dead Pony Club on draft. If you are near BrewDog Shepherd's Bush, Captain James and Pete Brown will be in the house at a special event, kicking off at 7:30pm. Let us know in the comments when you get a chance to sample LIVE beer, and what your take is on our new take on draft beer...

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Comments (42)

BrewDog Rich 27.07.2016 @ 9:30am
Anonymous Boozer - Yes, the keykegs will be given enough time to settle in our cellars before they are served, don't worry :)

Oogywawa - Check our reply halfway down the list of comments...

Sash Dog/Aoxm - We are sticking to Dead Pony Club at the moment!
Damien Black 26.07.2016 @ 10:19pm
I can't wait to spend my BrewBucks on this! Bravo guys! Xxx
An Anonymous Boozer 26.07.2016 @ 7:33pm
Presumably this beer needs some time to settle before it is served? I get the impression some keykeg conditioned beer isn't given enough time to settle.

Also,Trashy Blonde?
Oogywawa 26.07.2016 @ 7:10pm
Numerous breweries already supply real ale in key keg. Live. How is your's different?
Sash Dog 26.07.2016 @ 6:35pm
Loved the cask ales of yore, that made me love Brewdog. Will more of the range get the "Live" treatment ? Hope to try this brilliant innovation in Edinburgh on Saturday when I visit.
AOXM 26.07.2016 @ 6:29pm
Fascinating. DPC a good starting point. Will also be great to see stronger and more extreme beers dispensed via the new system.
Andrew Menzies 26.07.2016 @ 5:40pm
Won't be able to taste today but very interested in the concept and look forward to tasting when I can in the future.
Aki 26.07.2016 @ 4:25pm
Awesome gents and ladies etc! I'll make some once I get a brewery running! Just the bit about gummy bears worries me, I thought Martin was off them for good? Surely no relapse?
JonM 26.07.2016 @ 3:21pm
@Adam - genius! Love it. I'd buy an Undead Pony Club shirt.
Stew 26.07.2016 @ 3:13pm
Never liked DPC all that much - but Punk by this system? That would be a game changer!
BrewDog Rich 26.07.2016 @ 3:00pm
Something else we have been asked is whether LIVE beer is suitable for vegans - and the answer is yes, it is unfined and vegan-friendly as with the vast majority of our beers!
Adrian Bach 26.07.2016 @ 2:45pm
Would be good to taste it, alas no Brewdog near the out reaches of Lincoln!
Adam 26.07.2016 @ 2:01pm
That would make this beer Living Pony Club, surely? Undead Pony Club?
Functional Alc 26.07.2016 @ 1:43pm
BrewDog Rich 26.07.2016 @ 1:31pm
Bob Smith - same as the keg version, 3.8%

JonM - Yes, all the keykegs of Live Dead Pony Club are the same age for the launch, and yes we have controlled the temperature of their conditioning in the brewery and also when they are in the bars' cellars. An extra-aged DPC is an interesting idea!

Bob/Shane/Sam - Stay tuned on that!

Battlegarden - Yes, that's right - we push it using non-contact CO2

Jim - Of course we would, if trained up! Our crews are amazing at getting the best out of a beer however it arrives - the issue still remains that it would last for only a few days though...
Bob Smith 26.07.2016 @ 1:13pm
What strength is The Dead Pony on draft?
JonM 26.07.2016 @ 1:12pm

Looking forward to trying this.

Cask ale matures and its flavour profile changes over time. You will have experimented with this and picked an age to release it at.
- Is the age of releases across the bars the same?
- What got better/worse with age?
- Do you see an "extra aged" release in the future?
- Did you temperature control the conditioning? If not I guess beer of age X will vary in quality through the year.
Bob 26.07.2016 @ 1:09pm
Can you release the patent?
Pete H 26.07.2016 @ 1:04pm
Great stuff.
If it's a success, please do a LIVE version of Punk IPA.
Or, even better, LIVE Jackhammer.
You know you want to .....
Shane 26.07.2016 @ 1:03pm
Do you have a Patent Number please?
Tim Webb 26.07.2016 @ 12:54pm
Clever. There are at least 5 different 'KeyKeg and KeyKeg-like' systems around currently plus several variations on how to use them. Which is being used?

Hopefully this will trigger some more intelligent conversations about live yeast in beer, low CO2 vs under-conditioning in an open cask, and high CO2 vs over-conditioning in a sealed container. Potentially a big advance on the same-old-same-old craft vs cask crap.

I shall endeavour to be at Brewdog Bristol at 17.55 with my tenner.
Sam 26.07.2016 @ 12:37pm
Hey Guys,

So who do we ask about the new techniques?
BrewDog 26.07.2016 @ 12:22pm
Live Beer is very different from how other brewers condition in KeyKeg. Conventionally conditioning in KeyKeg is akin to bottle-conditioning. Yeast is added before packaging and the final beer serves, pours and drinks very much like a standard keg beer and is similar in terms of carbonation (around 2.5 volumes C02 usually).

With LIVE beer the final beer drinks much more like an evolved cask beer than a keg beer, carbonation is around 1.3 volumes and no additional yeast is added during the conditioning phase. Standard KeyKeg conditioning (which others brewers use) gives a result akin to standard keg beer. LIVE beer, using our patented method, gives a result akin to an evolution of cask beer.

The only way to see the difference is to taste it and see for yourself!
Battlegarden 26.07.2016 @ 11:23am
Any special reason for not using a beer engine? Or is it just because the taps and the gas were already there?
Jim 26.07.2016 @ 11:22am
Great idea, look forward to trying it. One point though, you say you stopped cask as you couldn't control the product served to a customer. With all the bars you now have, do you not trust your super-trained bar employees to store and serve real casks correctly?
Ant 26.07.2016 @ 11:10am
Can't wait for the pictures of trucks turning up in Aberdeen, loaded with gummie bears courtesy of one of the big boys!
Dave 26.07.2016 @ 11:04am
Erm how is this new? A lot of people have been doing this for a while?
Paul Armstrong 26.07.2016 @ 11:00am
I'll certainly give it a rattle. The beer world is certainly not stagnating - I'm very excited by this
James Smith 26.07.2016 @ 10:45am
So keg conditioned then?
Matt H 26.07.2016 @ 10:41am
Love the idea of a consistent longer lasting cask.
Is this any different to other breweries that Keg condition and naturally carbonate? Other than the lower carbonation obvs.
Paul B 26.07.2016 @ 10:36am
Day off tomorrow. Looks like I'm heading to Brewdog!
Mark M 26.07.2016 @ 10:34am
Tasty Stuff...
Paul 26.07.2016 @ 10:33am
Looking forward to trying, hopefully this version of DPC won't have the usual elastic band note in the taste.
Paul Walsh 26.07.2016 @ 10:14am
Congratulations. When will it be available in international Brewdog bars such as Brussels?
Daniel jolly 26.07.2016 @ 10:12am
Well this is a pleasant surprise.
Congrats on keeping it secret and launching on the same day as its announced. Couldn't of been easy keeping that info to yourselves for so long.
Just wanted to know if your going to use this process for other beers?
Zong Zong 26.07.2016 @ 10:11am
Only $500,000,000 plus a head?

Going easy on the mega corporations these days.
John 26.07.2016 @ 10:04am
Many breweries secondary ferment / condition keykeg. I'm failing to see what the fan fair is about??
BrewDog Rich 26.07.2016 @ 9:59am
Peter - LIVE beer has been a long time in the development, so it's not just a one-night event! Let us know what you think when you get a chance to sample it :)
Peter 26.07.2016 @ 9:56am
Is this a limited amount launching this evening, or will this be available starting this evening forever?
LondonAleDrinker 26.07.2016 @ 9:53am
Kudos... another positive effort!

Really interested to try this out, the potential is great!
Maxwell 26.07.2016 @ 9:51am
Served through a sparkler? Interesting stuff
ElJefe 26.07.2016 @ 9:19am
Cask 2.0!