As a reward for joining my husband on his weekly beer brewing adventures, he treated me to a trip to the Cascade Barrel House.
There were too many delicious options before me, overwhelmed and really happy to be having the problem of which exotic new flavor to try first. Thankfully the bartender had seen the wide-eyed, lost in beervana gaze before and helpfully suggested a tasting of four different beers to get us going. The beers were served as a pair; 2 sour and 2 sweet.
First up was the gorgeously golden Honey Ginger Lime. In my humble opinion, this beer would be fantastic served as an aperitif after a large, heavy meal of Northwest faire. The ginger is subtle as is the honey, both flavors blend seamlessly with the sour ale Cascade is known for.
Next, I went in for the second of the two sweet beers, Chocolate Cherry Casanova. As I'm sure you can imagine this is a black beauty, luscious, curvy and very, very sexy. If I wasn't secure with myself, I'd slap my husband for looking this beauty up and down. Calling this a sweet beer, is a bit misleading as the chocolate flavor is that kind of chocolate you stole from the kitchen when you were a kid, only to discover the difference between baking chocolate and chocolate chip cookie chocolate. Surprisingly light on the palette for a beer that weighs is at 7.5%. Semi-sweet chocolate nose and sour on the palette with just a hint of dark cherry fruit makes for a great glass of beer. Beware, dangerous curves ahead!
Noyaux, the Cascade Barrel House blend of blonds, strong blonds and tripels and then aged in oak barrels atop apricot 'nuts' and raspberries is about the most unique and interesting beer that I've had to date. Noyaux is only approved for those who are truly adventurous beer drinkers. This is beer like you've never had, ever. Noyaux looks like golden raw honey in the glass, has a light, floral nose and a long vanilla, almond nut, sour, sour, sour finish. Try this one with some meat and cheese and shoot me an e-mail, I'd love to find the perfect food pairing for this beer as I think there is much more to discover here.
After a moment's rest and reflection, I moved on the the final of our 4 beers to taste, a Kriek beer from 2011. Held up to the light, the Kriek beer looks like it must be best friends with the Chocolate Cherry Casanova, when they walk in to a room, one dark and lovely, the other a feisty red, all heads turn. Very sour on the nose and palette, this is a very clean, easy-drinking beer. With an ABV of of 7.5%, be careful, the Kriek beer may drink like a session beer, but it's sure to catch with you tomorrow.
In addition to interesting and original beers, the Cascade Barrel House offers really good food to compliment their beers, a staff that really knows their beers and is happy to share their insights. If you are visiting Portland, do not miss the chance to experience the beers at Cascade Barrel House, visit them at: 939 SE Belmont St, Portland, Oregon. Visit their website to see what's on tap.