Thursday, October 4, 2012
Cascade Brewing - Sang Noir
If you live outside of Oregon, you probably have never heard of Cascade Brewing, yet alone tried any of their beers. That said, among sour beer fans, Cascade beers are some of the most coveted in the country. I'm a huge fan of sour beers, but coming across any of Cascade's beers proved pretty difficult for me for a while. Finally, I got an email from Bottlecraft saying that they had just received a shipment of Cascade. I hurried down the next day and was lucky enough to scoop up a bottle of the highly coveted Sang Noir.
To say the brewing process of Sang Noir is extensive is a bit of an understatement. Simply throwing a beer in bourbon barrels and then bottling it isn't enough for them. Sang Noir, for example, is "a blend of red and double red beers that were aged in bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels for 12- 24 months then blended with barrel aged Bing and Sour Pie cherries." Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other brewery that throws their beer through a process like that. Let's review this puppy. At number 69 on the Top 100 List: Sang Noir.
Sang Noir pours a deep chestnut color with some ruby tinges when held to light. The head, a dense and foamy mass of khaki colored bubbles, forms quickly and takes a while to settle, leaving thick streaks of lacing down the glass. The smell was absolutely amazing. A touch of bourbon upfront quickly gave way to huge aromas of ripe red cherries, caramel and vanilla. Some pinot noir barrel was apparent in the background. I could have spent hours just smelling this beer, but it smelled way too good to not taste right away.
The taste opens with a nice lactic sourness, full of sour cherries, cherry skin and pit and vanilla. A touch of bourbon came through in the middle before a long and ever changing finish. On the finish, I picked up pinot noir barrel, red delicious apple and some nice tannins. I'm not sure what to compare this beer to, but it's awesome. The closest beer out there that I've tried might be Supplication, but this just may be better. This is a first class sour and one of the better beers I've ever tried.
Final Grade: A+
Top 100 Beers Tasted: 40