In the spirit of summer food and drink, we decided to host a class about cask beer pairings. We call it – A Firkin Good Summer Beer School. Bring on the citrus salads, smoky meats and cold craft beer!

With cask or “firkin” ales, carbonation levels are going to be lower than with a draft beer. However, the carbonation process preserves more of the beer’s natural aroma. We served our cask beers at cellar temperatures, which translates to being “cool” rather than “cold.”


Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what our brewers and students tasted at last night’s 21A Beer School. Zambo, 21A’s head brewer and unofficial Beer School Dean, expertly staggered the food pairings between beers so that students would always have an appropriate beer to drink with each dish, despite consumption rates.

The evening began with a glass of Saison de Voile.

This Saison was a result of a 21A and Marin Brewing collaboration. Saison beers are classified as “Farmhouse” style beers, originally brewed for consumption in the spring and summer months. With this brew, we added local spices, including wild fennel from Marin and Yerba Santa from San Francisco. Students munched on bread and learned about the beer’s intricacies from the Zambo and the other brewers.

Next up: Limey from Marin Brewing and Social Kitchen & Brewery. Its unique flavor is a distinct lime zest aroma and tang.

While students sipped, a savory Beer & Cheese soup was served. Topped with a parmesan crostini, this cozy dish was a great kick off to the evening’s fare.

Course #2 was a Mixed Beet Salad which was crafted with citrus segments, pumpkin seeds and queso fresco.

Students’ glasses were filled with Rye Brasseur from the team at Thirsty Bear Brewing. This Farmhouse Ale was dryhopped with Organic Sterling Hops and aged on French Oak.

Then came the Kolsch Pork Belly Sliders…

Topped with tobacco onions and smoked BBQ sauce, these beauties were a definite crowd pleaser.

The next brew hailed from Social Kitchen & Brewery – their Beach House Blonde. It’s a Belgium Blonde with tantalizing fruity hop character and fluffy mouthfeel.

Class then shifted from land to sea, with a round of Blackened Tombo Tuna & Grilled Shrimp Skewers for the table.

Students washed down the spicy skewers with a glass of 3 Flowers IPA from Marin Brewing. Citra is the dominating flavor/aroma in this pale IPA, but it was also hopped with Cascade and Chinook.

Soon, plates of Kahlua Pork were whizzing around each table. This dish was served with grilled pineapple and a sweet pea/mushroom risotto.

As plates were scraped, additional beers were poured. The next Beer School lesson revolved around Cellarmaker Brewing’s Mo’Nelson IPA. Conditioned on mango puree and dryhopped with Centennial hops, this beer brought unique flavors to the table.

The final course was a sweet one. Made with 21A’s own Monk’s Blood, this Banana & White Chocolate Bread Pudding hit all the right notes. We got pretty decadent with banana glace and framboise and topped with white chocolate ice cream.

Students rounded out the experience with a glass of Old Glory from 21A, a Bourbon-Oaked Imperial Red Ale.

As far as we’re concerned, everyone gets an A.



Shaun and Nico

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