Monday, January 21, 2013

Cascade Brewing - Cascade Noyaux

Finding Cascade beers in San Diego is usually about as easy as getting Lance Armstrong to tell the truth (sorry, I had to). Before I found Sang Noir down here a few months ago, I had seen Cascade bottles a total of one time. When I found Sang Noir, I bought it immediately and drank it knowing it could be the last bottle of Cascade I saw for years. Then something crazy happened: Cascade started shipping more beer down here. A few weeks ago, I walked into Texas Liquor and saw not one, not two, but four different bottles of Cascade beers on the shelf. I almost passed out at the sight. The one I was most excited about was a beer that I had never even heard about until fairly recently-Noyaux.

Similar to Sang Noir, Noyaux is one of Cacade's beers that goes through an aging system unlike any other brewery I've heard of. Cascade starts by blending Belgian blond and triple ales together and aging them in oak barrels for between 18-24 months. Then the beer is aged for an additional year on fresh raspberries and apricot noyaux (toasted meat from apricot nuts). So, in case you're doing the math, that's three years this beer spends in various barrels. Three years! Let's give this a try.

Noyaux pours a dark apricot color with a thin white head that drops pretty quickly. Oak is the first smell I picked up, along with a pleasant but not overwhelming sourness that had notes of raspberry skin, apricot skin, a bit of a lactic sourness, and some faint almond paste (which I'm assuming came from the noyaux).

The taste opens rich and fruity with a lush note of raspberry jam. As the flavor progresses, apricot flesh and tart green mango emerge, followed by a nice lactic sourness. Similar to the smell, this beer never becomes mouth-puckeringly sour. It's beyond the point of being tart, but the sourness is nicely subdued. The finish brings some unripe plum and oak notes. I wouldn't say that this beer is on the level of Sang Noir, but this is another fantastic beer from Cascade. I really enjoyed getting the chance to try this beer and I can't wait for my next Cascade encounter.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 51
( just made yet another change to their Top 100 List, which somehow booted a ton of beers I've tasted into the Top 100. It feels kind of cheap to reach the halfway point in this way, but... we're halfway there!!!)

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