A little piece of Scotland

Grab your kilts and study up on your bagpipe music—it’s beer time, Scottish style!

Grab your kilts and study up on your bagpipe music—it’s beer time, Scottish style!

This Saturday, Jan. 29, the Cascade Brewing Barrel House will bring a little piece of Scotland to the Portland area as they host its first annual Scottish Ale Festival. At least nine of the beers presented will specifically bear the title of a Scottish Ale. However, more beers can be expected, as 10 breweries are contributing to the festival.

Most of the breweries featured boast Northwest origins, such as the well-known Fearless Brewing Company from Estacada, Ore. Portland’s own Lucky Lab will also be there. Other breweries ale lovers can look forward to are Black Raven, Coalition, Migration, Rock Bottom, Schooner EXACT and the Upright Brewing Company.

Admission will be free and you can bring along all the minors you want, as long as they are accompanied by a parent.

Cascade’s own brewmaster Ron Gansberg will be providing entertainment as he performs with his band Stone Porridge. Bagpipers may also be in attendance to add a little Scottish flare.

There is no strict stereotype for a Scottish ale, though one can generally expect a beer ranging from amber to brown or red, very malty in taste, and presenting quite a kick. Most Scottish ales are pretty strong, so make sure to properly hydrate and take a cab.

In addition to the extra kick, Scottish ales might also come off a little sweeter, coming mainly from their malty side. If you really want to get nerdy about it, it basically comes down to a brewing method of boiling the wort over a longer period of time than usual. The hop flavor is diminished, especially compared to the heavy-on-the-hops flavor Portland seems to adore. It tastes great and will make you walk funny—that’s what you mainly need to know.

One ale to watch out for this year will be Black Raven’s Splinters Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Scotch Ale. This is a scotch ale aged in, you guessed it, bourbon barrels—a method not seen nearly enough within the beer scene. By doing so, the brew takes on a whole new level of taste and overall flavor that only bourbon barrels can provide. Don’t miss it.

Art Larrance founded the Cascade Brewing Barrel House in 1998. Together with brewmaster Gansberg, they have been brewing beers for the Portland area and beyond ever since. The brewery mainly focuses on sour beers—beers that are, in fact, aged to some degree in wooden barrels, not metal. The taste produced can rage from sweet to sour, but mostly sour. ?