Cascade Brewing Barrel House by Morgan Forsyth, Craft Beer Promoter
Being 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 in.
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 lovers’ palette.
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!
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 Southeast Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97214