Real ale is cask conditioned beer that is different from
other beers by the way it is brewed. These beers are top fermented, like
all ales, but are typically fermented in a secondary vessel, like a cask
or bottle. Real ales are always served from the secondary vessel and are
not pasteurized or filtered.
Due to the lack of filtration yeast and other
particles are left in the beer. This plays a role in the taste and clarity
of the ale and can make for a cloudy beer if poured incorrectly. Once a
cask or bottle is opened it should be consumed within 48 hours to preserve
the freshness of the flavor.
CAMRA (Campaign for
Real Ale) is an organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional
cask conditioned ales. They are based in the UK and have over 45,000
members worldwide. They were formed in response to the many mergers of
small breweries by larger companies who replaced their traditional real
ales with mass produced beers.