In fact, the Southern Sun and Denver's Vine Street Pub, which are both owned by the Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery group, are close to restarting a firkin program that they let go of a few years ago because it wasn't working out. "We are going to feel it out," Hutchinson says. "We just bought a couple of them. We are going to give it a run and see how people react to it. Southern will be first, and if it works, Vine Street will be next."
Firkins are small, nine- to ten-gallon kegs popular in the United Kingdom. Breweries often take one of their regular beers and add ingredients to a firkin to put a new spin on it. Then the contents are served cask style, meaning they don't have added carbonation from a tap.
Today's firkin, which will be tapped at Southern Sun at 4:20 p.m. doesn't have any added flavors or ingredients, but was carbonated naturally in the cask.
Southern Sun abandoned its firkin program because the brewery didn't support it in the right way. This time, says Hutchinson, "I anticipate it working. We love being able to do new stuff and experimenting a little more."
The Mountain Sun group is currently building its new brewery in a space attached to the Vine Street Pub. When it's up and running, probably sometime this fall, Hutchinson says he'd like to expand the firkin program by making some for other bars or restaurants.