Welcome back fellow beer lovers! Firstly, I wanted to have this up earlier in the week, as it was fresh in my mind, but I came down with a bit of a head cold, which may or may not have been directly attributed to numerous beer week shenanigans…the verdict is still out on that.
Those of you who were able to attend Elizabeth Station’s Sourfest may have already enjoyed this particular beer, in which case we are forever united in the near earth shattering deliciousness that was Cascade Blackcap Raspberry. It was somewhat a difficult decision as to which beer I should pick to share here with the Tap Trail, there were so many fantastic sours it was slightly overwhelming. Cantillon Classic Gueuze, Jolly Pumpkin Rojzilla, Firestone Walker Sour Opal, do you see what I mean?
Perhaps I’ll review some of those down the line, but it pains me as much as it pains you to review a beer that is unavailable, so I don’t want to tempt any palates with unattainable beer. The good news with this one is that there are a few bottles still available @ Elizabeth Station.
What is Blackcap Raspberry all about? Cascade has done their sour magic upon a blend of Wheat and Blond ales aged for up to 14 months in oak wine barrels with hoards of Blackcap Raspberries. Promising concentrated flavors of raspberries melded with red wine and french oak notes.
Brewery: Cascade Brewing Barrel House — Belmont St. Portland, OR
Beer: Blackcap Raspberry — Northwest Style Sour Ale
Cost: $25.99 / 750mL
Appearance (4.5/5) Out of the bottle this pours an extremely vibrant and translucent pinkish hued red into the tulip tasting glass. As light shines through it the beer really pops, it is an incredibly bright and strikingly red hue, excellent clarity as well. There isn’t much to speak of as far as a head goes, but that’s to be expected with most all barrel aged sours, so it is not a detriment in this case.
Aroma (5/5) Right off the bat this is one of the best liquids I have ever smelled, never mind beer, this smells like you’ve been out picking raspberries all day long, you’ve now got a whole 6 gallon bucket filled full of them, you take a couple big handfuls and shove your face, nose first into them. It is amazingly fresh, vibrant, bright and delicious. You’re covered in fresh raspberries, that is what this beer smells like. Don’t let your mind wander too far off, but hopefully you get the picture here.
Taste (4.75/5) Unsurprisingly this beer tastes almost exactly as it smells. Very raspberry forward and focused. Though as it warms there is an amazing vinous and slightly tannic quality that arrives and develops. This really helps tie everything together. On the finish there is a drying and slightly sweet vanilla component thanks to the oak. Just a tremendous depth of flavors on this one, raspberry, oak, red wine, vanilla, caramel, lacto, tart, clean, refreshing.
Mouthfeel (4.5/5) Medium bodied, nice carbonation level, not overly bubbly and effervescent for no reason. Great balance and really easy drinking.
Overall (4.75/5) Really one of the stars of the show, and one of the best beers I have had in quite a long time, the subtle nuances and overwhelming fresh fruit quality of this beer really puts it in a category all by itself. Fantastic.