Saturday 18th June 2011
I walked about five minutes from the Green Dragon and arrived at the Cascade Barrel House at 939 SE Belmont Street.
I'm still undecided about this brewpub. It is, without doubt, the most experimental brewery I've ever visited, but is also very pretentious. You get the impression that they think they know everything about beer and their customers don't, so they invent beers for them.
Certainly it has been said that American brewers have invented new styles over the last twenty years and American IPA, Golden Ale, and the reinvented Imperial PA are increasingly brewed in the UK and very good most of them are. However they are reworking classical types with different hop/malt balances and new hop varieties.
This place is different. I've mentioned their love of sour beers, but what do you think of this beer list of two cask and sixteen keg beers, some of which were brewed six months earlier when this pub opened?
On cask were Sour 80 Shilling Scottish Ale and Spiced Cherry Gose. The latter is an established sour beer style originating from Leipzig, Germany, but spiced and cherry? If you ordered a pint of 80/- in Scotland and it was sour you'd take one sip and give it back. Two newly invented styles in the first two beers! I had a small taster of each and was underwhelmed, the sourness taking over from the natural tastes, whatever they were.
The keg offerings were as follows. Specials were: Bain de Brugge Porter, (8.0%) (What !!!), Vintage Spring Hose '10 (sic), and Saison Minuit (6.7%).
Then there were the beers brewed in 2010. No abvs supplied, no doubt because they've been fermented for so long. They are as follows: Apricot, Kriek and The Vine.
This is the remainder of the selection: Saison Fumé (6.6%) (another new style), Spring Pale Ale (4.8%) (hurray !!!), Red Eye Rye (4.7%), 12-step IPA (6.9%), Belgian Pale Ale (5.6%), Saison de la Maison (6.4%), Razberry Wheat (sic), Sang Rouge (???), Sang Royal (???), Portland Ale.
I had two small glasses of Portland Ale and 12-step IPA and I was disappointed. The first didn't have much taste at all and the second tasted OK but for a nasty oily aftertaste.
One day I'd like to revisit to reappraise the pub and its beers.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House, 939 SE Belmont Street, Portland OR. 97214.
Tel: 503 265 8603
Open: Sun and Mon 12.00-22.00; Tues to Thurs 12.00-23.00; Fri and Sat 12.00-24.00
The pub is to be found on the corner of SE Belmont Street and SE 10th Avenue.
Bus No 15 runs easterly from the city centre along Belmont Street and there are stops at 9th and 11th Streets, take your pick. The bus returns to the city along SE Morrison Street, one block north. Other transport options are Bus No 70, which runs north-south 2/3 blocks to the east and Bus No 6 that operates north-south along Martin Luther King Jr Avenue/Grand Avenue 4/5 blocks west.
The new East Side Streetcar (tram) also runs along these avenues.