[Cascade Brewing specializes in sour beers, which are created through the use of lactobacillus or Brettanomyces yeast. These little fiends convert sugars into lactic or acetic acid respectively, giving the beer its distinctive sour taste. Sour beers are often aged in oak barrels for several years, adding to their complexity and cost. Practically any beer can be soured, but the traditional styles were lambics and Flemish sour beers. Mr. Bruce squeezed in a visit to the Barrel House just before leaving Portland, and was pleasantly surprised by the curios brews he found there. - Ed.]
You know that curious period between aircraft departure and there must be time for one more brewery? Of course you do and Cascade was en-route to the airport.
Confession – the only sour beers I have tasted were at home brew meets and I’m sure they weren’t meant to be that way or if they were, ouch. Most home brewers I know can match many professional brew masters so it must be interpretation of the style.
When I saw the sign indicating that sour ales were the staple I would have driven on except by the time we find the next brewpub there wouldn’t be time to even insult the beer keep. Oh well – let’s be brave. Harriet ordered wine aged sour crap and sour aged something else. I ordered a wretched sour aged porter and an IPA sour or something. I knew the result would be evil. Oh my jumble sqeezicles. A little sip and to my astonishment flavour poured out of the samples – they were delicious. Hop bubbly citrus nose from the IPA and the Porter has nuances of citrus that made a probably pedestrian porter into a fine interesting ale.
She who must obeyed had this red wine concoction and a sip confirmed my worst nightmare and fear. I can best describe the effect as exploding with scrumptious sour flavour — yes , but sour as in grapefruit, lemon or lime. As I don’t know this style I have even less vocabulary to judge or evaluate these supernatural offerings from Bacchus.
To sum up – I have now gained a complete new beer world to explore. A world that may well have alternatives to IPA. If it was going to happen, where else but Oregon – gateway to the stars – whoops – beers?
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR 97214