KeyKeg - Live beer from a tap

In addition to cask and bottle conditioned beer, the Stockport Beer and Cider festival will have live beer in KeyKegs for the first time in 2024, at a bar provided by Stockport’s Runaway Brewery. Mark Welsby of The Runaway Brewery welcomes the addition of KeyKeg conditioned beer at the Stockport Beer and Cider Festival, saying that he hopes it will help to broaden the appeal of such a great local event to a wider drinking audience.

Diagram showing the structure of a Key Keg

A diagram showing how a KeyKeg works

KeyKegs are a brand of membrane keg, which comprise of a sterile bag encased in a clear plastic bottle. The beer is held in the bag and the bottle is pressurised to dispense the beer. As with a keg the beer is served through a tap rather than a hand pump, but the crucial difference to traditional keg beer is that the bag isolates the beer from the gas (in this case air) that provides the pressure to enable dispense. The carbonation in the beer is provided only by the secondary fermentation in the KeyKeg.

KeyKeg beers therefore meet CAMRA’s definition of real ale as live beer that continues to condition in its final container without using artificial carbonation, an important factor in maximising the flavour of a beer. The isolation from air also gives beer in KeyKegs a longer shelf life over cask beers, which allows pubs to be more experimental in the styles of beer they offer, providing drinkers with more variety.

For anyone who wants to compare KeyKeg and cask beer for themselves, The Runaway Brewery will provide beer in each format at the Stockport Beer and Cider Festival. We would welcome your feedback on this trial in the relevant section of the Stockport Beer and Cider Festival voting form.

A photo of a KeyKeg