New brewery alert: Firkin Ales launching Kickstarter

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor

In the continued growth of Columbus beer, one new brewery is seeking to distinguish itself by focusing solely on cask-conditioned ales.

Columbus residents Lauren Spence and Ruth Thurgood Mundy have been homebrewing together over the past couple years. They began by bottling their beers to share with friends, but were drawn to cask-conditioning after being inspired by their European travels and Mundy's British heritage. So they purchased a 10-gallon firkin and began fermenting their ales in it.

"We're trying to find our niche in Columbus beer," Spence said, "by making cask ale in a women-owned and women-operated brewery." Cask-conditioned ales, also referred to as "real ales," are dispensed directly from their fermentation vessel without extra carbonation.

Spence and Mundy have worked to keep up with the bar and brewery scene in town. "One night we were sitting in a bar and said, 'Why don't we open a brewery?'" Spence said. So the two set out to create a brewery and taproom focused exclusively on cask-conditioned beers. To raise funds for the new venture, the duo has turned to Kickstarter.

They haven't settled on brewing one particular style. Previous batches have included an English Special Bitter, a coffee porter and a chocolate orange Belgian quadruple. A honey wheat beer is on the way, and they're tossing around ideas for brewing a summer shandy and a vanilla porter.

Spence says brewing with a goal of cask-conditioning allows them to work in small batches to create more interesting beers. The brewery name - Firkin Ales - was an easy pick, and allows for a lot of playful names, Spence said.

A few other Columbus breweries experiment with firkins, such as Barley's, Smokehouse, North High and Four String, but none focus exclusively on them, as Spence and Mundy plan to do.

Their Kickstarter campaign runs through May 18.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," with a second edition coming in 2015. He leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.