Cascade Brewing, maybe the craft beer industry’s most renowned brewer of sour beer, recently received a visit from Douglas Rennie, a renowned fourth generation Master Cooper. Can Cascade’s beers get even better as a result? It’s a question worthy of answering, that’s for sure.
Barrels and blending are a very important part of the brewing process at Cascade Brewing and what the brewery says separates it from other sour beer producers; mainly the ones that brew primarily “kettle sours,” which do not utilize any oak barrel aging. Cascade Brewing beers age for a minimum of 12 months in oak; some age up to two years.
Rennie, who formerly hailed from Glasgow, Scotland, and now resides in Napa, Calif., is the Master Cooper for legendary barrel maker Seguin Moreau. Accompanied by the Pacific Northwest Sales Territory Manager Adam Schultz, the two spent more than two hours with Cascade’s cellar and brewery team discussing the finer points of the barrel process and giving a hands-on demonstration of how to properly care for the casks. Here are the photos to prove it.
Against the background of Cascade’s 1,500+ sour beer-filled oak barrels, Rennie used his tools ever so delicately to show the team the best way to care for its treasured oaks. He informed them that the wood used in the French Oak casks come from trees that are a minimum of 150 years old; more than 60 percent of Cascade’s barrels are French Oak, including the nine foudres.
“We greatly appreciated Mr. Rennie’s time at Cascade,” stated Tim Larrance, vice president of sales and marketing for Cascade Brewing. “We know that his time spent with our team will benefit us greatly in helping use our oak barrels to make the best sour beer around.”