It was only a matter of time.
With so many of the country’s largest craft brewing companies flocking to Arkansas to capitalize on the state’s growing thirst for flavorful beer, the smaller specialty brewers were bound to take notice.
Cascade Brewing, known for its award-winning sour ales, has expanded distribution to include the Natural State, company officials announced this week.
The Portland, Oregon-based craft brewer has inked a deal with Arkansas Craft Distributors, the same company responsible for bringing Stone Brewing, Oskar Blues, Bell’s Brewery, and many more craft companies to Arkansas.
Cascade was one of the first key players in the production of tart, fruit-based, barrel-aged beers, a category that continues to grow as American beer lovers become more adventurous.
With so many brewers in the Pacific Northwest racing to create the hoppiest beers possible in the mid-2000s, Cascade sought to create intense flavors without using massive amounts of hops. An abundant supply of used barrels from the nearby wine country, coupled with easy access to local orchards, made the choice to produce wood-aged sour ales an easy one.
But instead of trying to recreate Belgian-style sour ales, Cascade focused on Lactobacillus, a bacteria that adds a healthy dose of acidity when added to beer. The clean tartness produced is in contrast to the unique, “funky” flavors derived from Brettanomyces, a wild yeast used in some traditional Belgian sours.
By wood-aging their beers for up to a year with massive amounts of fruit – including apricots, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, elderberries, and raspberries – Cascade has become famous for its distinctive flavors that can sometimes evolve in unpredictable ways to make some of the most interesting beers on the market.
According to a post on the company’s Facebook page, Arkansans can expect to find Cascade’s unique creations on shelves in mid-June.