One article in particular caught my eye when perusing the brewing related abstracts this month. "Problem-Free Casks" it was called. Not perhaps hugely interesting, except when you see it's from the German magazine Brauwelt.
The article is about the flexible keg and cask washing machinery a koelsch brewery in Cologne uses for cleaning its "diverse range of draught containers, including 20, 30 and 50 litre polyurethane-coated metal kegs, 30 and 50 litre conventional kegs, 5 litre traditional wooden casks (called "Pittermaennchen" in the Cologne dialect) and 10, 15, 20 and 30 litre polyurethane-coated metal casks (of a design based on that of the wooden ones)".
There's no doubt here a clear and correct distinction is being made kegs and casks. I have noticed that cask beer has spread to barbarian lands, but from the reports I've seen from The States it seems your chances of finding a cask beer without weird shit added to it are about the same as finding a British brewed unflavoured gose or traditionally hopped saison.
Serving koelsch from casks on the other hand sounds extremely close to beer as god intended. Surely the similarity is so profound that it lacks little to attain the
fullness that would permit a common celebration of real ale. And I have to say my impressions of keg and bottled koelsch have been that it's decidedly dull and crying out to be served on cask. I'm not sure if the German cask beer has a proper secondary fermentation in the container from which its served, but surely CAMRA could send a few missionaries over to teach the vital last step if needed?