Cascade Brewing Barrel
House by Morgan Forsyth, Craft Beer Promoter
from Denver, we tend to be a bit spoiled with all of the
microbreweries around town. I tend to be a little bit of a sour beer
fanatic, and don’t get me wrong – Colorado breweries have some
spectacular sours. But when I heard that the Craft Brewers
Conference for 2015 was in Portland this year, I immediately knew
the Cascade Brewing Barrel House would be my first brewery to stop
Cascade is one of the pioneers of barrel-aged, sour beers. And they
have gained the title of the “House of Sour” – which is no stretch
of the truth. One of my favorite parts of the barrelhouse was the
vintage beer they had on tap. I was able to try their Sour Apricot,
from three different years. Being able to compare these years side
by side was truly a remarkable and one-of-a-kind experience. And
with beers such as Blackcap Raspberry, Elderberry, and Gingersnap –
they have a unique selection with enough variety to satisfy any beer
Brew Master Ron Gansberg has been at Cascade Brewing since the
foundation was laid at their first facility 18 years ago. When asked
why they chose to primarily brew sour beers, Ron’s response was that
the company did not want to be part of the Hops arms race, so they
looked into brewing sours.
And Cascade has succeeded with their sour beer selection. Their most
recent project has been developing the Cascade Brewing Blending
House, which is a 23,000 square foot climate controlled facility
that houses over 1400 oak barrels.
The brew masters have also been focusing on a barrel exchange
series. They are working with other breweries in this project, where
they have the brewery pick a barrel from the Cascade Barrel House
and then the brewery blends that barrel with a beer of their own. It
has created unique relationships with other breweries and helped
smaller microbreweries learn the process of brewing sours.
And when asked about why they don’t compete in beer festivals?
“We’re just here to brew beer.” – Ron Gansberg
We can all raise a glass to that!