Imagine going out to dinner one evening and noticing a miniature beer keg resting on the bar. As you watch, a gruff-looking man (because of course he’d have to be gruff) approaches the keg, raises a massive wooden mallet, asks the crowd for a countdown, then drives a spigot into the keg’s side with a spray of foam. Once the applause dies down, this man will probably explain that he just “tapped the firkin,” or prepared the keg for serving. A firkin is a traditional 10 gallon, 72-pint specialty keg that is filled with beer and conditioned with ingredients ranging from hops to spices to add an extra dimension of flavor.
Here, Troegs sales representative Jon Hoey taps a Hopback Amber Ale firkin at Al’s Pizza and Subs, Enola, on Wednesday, April 25. The firkin had been dry-hopped with Pacific northwest cascade hops and conditioned for a minimum of one week.