The Sourness

Date: February 19, 2011
Location: Cascade Brewing Barrel House, 939 SE Belmont Street
Present: Josh Berezin, Mike Merrill


JB: New brewery to us, and we’re jumping right in with their “live from the barrel” beers.
MM: Those are actual holes in the barrels, that’s not a gimmick.
JB: Yeah, I was figuring they’re not under carbonation and pressure. I’m going to take a picture of the keg.

97/1000: Cherry Gold Yeller
MM: I think I’m going to like this one. “We’re blended in some straight 2010 sour pie cherry beer to give this a little fruit to ponder as you sip.”
JB: You were telling me that this was a specialty sour beer place?
MM: I think they only make sour beers.
JB: That’s basically unheard of for a brewpub. Well, let’s taste this thing.
MM: Just smell it! It makes my mouth water!
JB: Well, not for me. I’m not addicted to sour beers the way you are.
MM: It’s so much like a drinking vinegar, if you like those. Man, this is the best beer I’ve had this year.
JB: What’s the best beer I’ve had this year? We haven’t 1000 beered any of them, but the CDA or Black IPA style beers are what I’ve enjoyed most so far in 2011. Tell me why this stands out for you.
MM: I think I’ve realized I don’t like really hoppy beers, and this is not hoppy.
JB: It’s more than not hoppy, PBR’s not hoppy.
MM: But that brings it into a zone where I might like it, and the sourness is what I really like.
JB: It seems like if sour beers were more widely available, you’d have them at home all the time.
MM: I sometimes buy the one sour beer from the store near my house, actually. But you can’t get six packs, you can’t hit just any old corner store… You know, the thing that disturbs me about sour beers, it’s kind of the Linux of beers. You get the tie-dyed, bearded vibe. There’s an especially nerdy cultural element to it.
JB: Again, if it were mainstream, it would solve both the access problem and the cultural barrier.
MM: You like but don’t love a sour beer?
JB: I wouldn’t even go that far. I don’t think I’d ever choose to have one. Maybe it’s just that I don’t associate it with the flavor of beer. And I like beer, a really wide range of beers. But this doesn’t say “beer” to me.

98/1000: Straight Red
MM: “A single barrel from the blenders.” What does that mean? Who are the blenders? Oh, I like this: “Deep rich fruit. Tart dark cherries on the palate. No fruit was used in the making of this beer.” Wait, is this a “glass”? $5.50?
JB: Yeah. You’ve got expensive taste. It is hard to believe no fruit was used, having tasted it.
MM: It’s not as sour. I don’t get the “lingering burn” they promised. I feel like you could lie to someone and say you got some new crazy wine, and they would drink this and believe you.
JB: That’s what I mean, I don’t know where in my brain to fit these beers. It’s not refreshing, but it’s not for sipping either. It’s got a complex flavor. Honey and caramel and fruit and —
MM: Why would it not be for sipping, then? I think of it is as something you’d drink while you sit in your robe by the fire, reading Moby Dick with your dog at your feet. It’s the brandy of beers.
JB: I’ll give that a try.
MM: We’ll try to find a golden retriever for you to borrow.

JB: I don’t know why I’m so sensitive to the context. I think I’m just now fully experiencing the taste of it. There’s so much going on.
MM: You don’t look like you like it. Just based on your expression.
JB: I’m not going to argue that point.
MM: I would choose this every time I had the option.

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