So...finally have these things going...hopefully I'm using them correctly
What the Firk is the big deal on Fridays?
August 27, 2014
As a result of the most recent Brewery of the Week post, I’ve had a few people ask me what Firkin Friday is and why it was worth noting in said brewery review. While this might sound like one of the expletives Ralphie drops in “A Christmas Story” it’s actually a legitimate term in the realm of beer. This little piece of random knowledge isn’t just useful for pub quizzes (although I did win some free food for knowing super random crap like this at Geeks who Drink) it will also give you insight into why a Firkin Friday beer is usually something special.
I’m guessing you might be wondering what firkin means at this point. Well, a firkin is in fact a thing rather than a term; originally a general name for a small container for liquids. Early firkins were little more than covered buckets used to carry and store milk, salt, fish, and yes beer. Later firkins evolved into a small keg/cask form, which was standardized in Britain to be 9 gallons in volume. This equates to a quarter barrel which is now a standard measurement volume for beer, most prominently in the UK.
Now that I’ve thoroughly Ben Stein’d you all with a little bit of random history, let’s get to why this is important these days. As previously mentioned, the phenomenon of Firkin Friday has become a staple in the brewing community, not just in Colorado but with small brewers across the country. This usually involves a firkin of something unique that is available just that day: once it’s gone, it’s gone. One of the most fun experiences you can have in a brewery is to observe the firkin tapping, which involves a mallet and a special faucet that is pounded into the tiny barrel (I’ll give you a minute to let your mind go through the gutter on that one…..)
As mentioned in the Grist post previously, the offerings on these special occasions often involve unique ingredients, flavors and brewing techniques. It has been my experience that everything from herbs to fruits to wild yeasts have been used to create beers that are truly bold and different. There is a distinct homebrew-like quality to this, not just in the small size of the batches that go into firkin’s, but in the spirit of creativity that comes from brewing these onetime experiments. While I unfortunately don’t make a Firkin taping for every Friday I find this makes the occasions that I do all the more fun. I hope all of you have an opportunity to flaunt your new found beer nerd knowledge soon, as you sip something made just for Friday.