Firkin Fridays Continue January 3 at Steamworks Brewing Co.

DURANGO, Colo. — Steamworks Brewing Co. continues its special monthly “firkin” tapping on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, featuring a decadent brew for the depths of winter — German Chocolate Cake. The cask will be tapped at 3 p.m.

“As we were filling the vessel, the aromas that were coming off made me think of German Chocolate Cake,” said Steamworks Brew Master and Certified Cicerone┬« Ken Martin of the special brew that has as its base Steamworks Backside Stout, which features hints of chocolate.

“To complete the essence of German Chocolate Cake, I toasted some shaved coconut in the oven, then flamed it in a pan with some spiced black rum and brown sugar and added that to the cask to ferment,” added Martin.

“Rich and tasty,” concurred Steamworks Brewer and Certified Cicerone┬« Spencer Roper. “The ABV (alcohol by volume) of the Backside Stout is robust 6.4, so this firkin certainly is not your grandma’s German chocolate cake.”

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, firkins, or cask-conditioned beer, are known as ‘real ale,’ Authentic cask ale must be kept at “cellar temperature” — about 54 degrees — as it’s conditioned in its cask, and Steamworks’ basement provides the perfect “mock cellar.”

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 cellar temperature – cool but not cold.

Steamworks initiated its Firkin Fridays to introduce unusual, specialty craft beers to patrons, and augment its regular, award-winning offerings. Steamworks, open 11 a.m. to closing seven days a week, is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200). For further information, visit


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