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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cascade Brewing Barrel House (Portland, OR)

I had to revisit Cascade Brewing Barrel House, this time to do a complete run-through of the sour ales-

Apple Pie certainly had apples going for it, but more yellow than green, that sat sweetly over cinnamon and vanilla.  Throughout the drink, there was a funky, grassy barn taste and wheat.  Apple Pie was thankfully a restrained “evocative of…” rather than an in your face, artificial tasting mess.

The Summer Gose was well carbonated and expressed a mélange of fruit flavors over the sweet malt.  There wasn’t much funk to detect, but an odd saltiness came through at the end that extended the flavors into the fade without becoming too cloying.

This sour ale was a blur of berries, grapes, and cherries, with nothing standing out.  What it lacked in definable character it made up for by being the perfect mix of tart and sweet.

Wow.  I love sours, but this had too much vinegar and funk going on for even me.  The lemon was there, but very artificial tasting (like a hard candy) and marred by a jarring combination of pungent vinegar and artificial sweeteners.

The Vine was one of the funkiest (in that good, sour way) of the bunch, almost wine like in the prominence of grape and cherries.  There was quite a bit of barrel coming through, and the tartness was contrasted with a creamy, almost thick body.

Truly the king, this ale opened with tart cherries and somewhat bracing carbonation before a mild sweetness and touch of cider came through.  The oak came through strong on this beer, and a soft vinegar was always present to offset the other flavors.  My favorite of the tastings done here.

A newer take on the sour Kriek ale (hense the name), this was the youngest and sharpest tasting of the tasting, making it both a bit more refreshing but also the least integrated.  The fruit came through a bit strong.

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