Pucker up and join the Northwest Sour Revolution!

1 February 2016

Cascade brewing

James Clay have announced a partnership with Portland's Cascade Brewing to distribute their bottled beers throughout the United Kingdom, a deal which brings Cascade’s Northwest style sour ales to the UK for the first time.

Cascade Brewing is highly regarded in the US for its award-winning sour ales that feature a clean, lactic acid profile produced by a house culture of lactobacillus bacteria. The beers frequently feature many fresh ingredients grown exclusively in the Pacific Northwest including native cherries, berries, apricots and grapes.

Cascade's own blending house currently holds more than 1,400 French oak, Kentucky Bourbon and Northwest wine barrels, along with nine foudres – the giant oak wine barrels favoured by traditional Flemish breweries.

For the last decade, the Oregon brewery has been a pioneer in the sour beer renaissance and the proud innovator of the Northwest Style Sour Ale. Its distinctive sour beer blends feature fruit forward, barrel-aged ales with an emphasis on project year-to-year variation.

These beers offer a complex array of flavours derived from Northwest grown ingredients, with each release capturing the unique subtleties of that year’s growing season.

As Cascade state: “We are, by nature, the definition of artisanal brewing: not bound by stylistic guidelines, just our own imagination and the ingredients we can access. Our blending house is filled with wheats, blonds, quads, reds, browns and porters that are aged and blended into magical elixirs. Beers with aggressive tart notes that are balanced by residual sugars, fruits, spices and the oak we use.”

James Clay have been closely following developments in the American sour brewing scene for some time and are delighted to be able to introduce some of the leading examples being produced by Cascade Brewing to the UK.

We have seen a number of the leading independent brewers in the UK experimenting with and introducing their own sour beers to the market and are excited to see the reaction of Cascade's innovative beers when they are released.

James Clay will release four Northwest sour style Cascade beers early in 2016:

Strawberry (7.5% Abv) is a blend of wheat and blonde ales, aged for up to a year in oak barrels with strawberries and vanilla pods. Bright and crisp, it captures the essence of strawberry with subtle notes of oak, vanilla and fruit preserves.

Blackcap Raspberry (7.6% Abv) ages for up to 14 months in oak wine barrels, the wheat and blonde ales blended with the fruit. Clean, concentrated flavours of raspberry with hints of red wine and dark summer fruits.

A blend of imperial spiced red ales aged with cherries in bourbon and wine barrels for two years, Sang Noir (9.8% Abv) pours a deep mahogany brown and features rich flavours of dark roast malts and port.

Blended wheat ales aged for over a year in oak wine barrels with native cranberries from the Oregon coast, orange peel and cinnamon, Cranberry (6.9% Abv) offers brilliant fruit flavours and delicious refreshment.