Thursday, October 14

Cascade Brewings Barrel House: Just Plain Badass.

My sister at one point lived in Beaverton, OR with her then fiance. I went out to visit them, and they happened to bring me to the Racoon Lodge. At the time I was pretty young still...  just 21, maybe a couple beyond that. I worked as an auto mechanic just down Canyon Road at the time. I lived in NE Portland, drove out to Gresham to attend Mount Hood Community College, and every other term was a working term out in Beaverton. All that driving, and it was in a beat up 1973 Dodge Dart that really didn't have any more life in it. But I managed.

As I ventured into the craft beer scene more and more...  I decided to start doing some reviews. I went back, had their Razberry Wheat...  and loved it. I remember the whole fruit-beer craze when such bottles and 6-packs like Thomas Kempers Weizenberry, Widmer Widberry, Henry Weinhard Blackberry Wheat and the like were spilling out and easily found on the shelves of any local Fred Meyer or 76 gas station. Razberry (w/ it's 60 lbs. of raspberries per barrel) glows. It is flavorful, good, sweet, and intriguing. Their Old Salt IPA I liked a lot, and really got me into reading about brewing IPA's and how salts such as Epsom salt are added to the already mineral enriched water to let the yeast flourish and create different flavor profiles and attenuation.

It's odd to say...  and at the time I never pieced two & two together. Cascade Brewing sprung back in my mind later on when a fellow Beer Advocate introduced me to sours a few years back. The sour was never a style I had really heard of or tried...  not even a Belgian Flemish or any Flanders out there.

After numerous trades for many sours from Russian River Brewing..  and buying up many imported sours...  and buying lot's of Cascades brews from bottle shops such as By The Bottle, Beaumont Market, and The Beer Mongers.... I developed the same love so many have for sour barrel aged ales. The world of flavors that magically appear once introduced to various bacterias and age in an oak barrel are amazing. Ron Gansberg is the Brewmaster, and I feel is brilliant when it comes to the sour. Of all of the sours I have had, his stand out in front...  and this is really just the beginning!

I have heard so many stories of those doing tours, and able to hang out with Ron at the Racoon Lodge...  discussing the beer...  sampling from the barrels.....   and really learning something. To me he seems very intelligent, and knows what he is doing. I like that, and that is what intrigues me. I hope to get in their soon to learn more about Ron, his passion, and his fantastic brews.

Today (10/14/2010) I spent the day there with fellow Brewmance Blogger Pete... and I introduced him and myself even with various sours only available there at the Barrel House. Even the Beck Berry was brewed with an interesting strain of Brett...  and I overheard the "last" beer brewed with it. Brett is a tough bug to control... and it will sprawl and destroy everything you have worked so hard for. I hope that's not true...  that that is the last beer produced with it.....

Ron was a busy guy today...  and this weekend is a big hump. They will be busy. And with their bottle release of the Bourbonic Plague & Vlad the IMPaler this Saturday at 9AM...  they have their hands and glasses full!

Perhaps next Thursday I will be able to pop in and do a "Secure Glass" tour with Ron. It was a nice day for Pete and Perry at the Barrel House.


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