Tasting Notes: Vlad the Imp Aler (2017) from Cascade Brewing

VladPour2For this special Halloween week edition of Tasting Notes, we sit down and get acquainted with the infamous Vlad the Imp Aler (2017) from Cascade Brewing (Portland, Oregon).

Known to be “one of the most iconic projects in Cascade’s 20-year history of brewing and blending sour beer,” Vlad the Imp Aler is “a combination of quad and blond ales aged in bourbon and wine barrels for up to two years with orange peel and coriander.”  After its lengthy slumber, Vlad the Imp Aler rises to deliver “a fresh acidity and light malt sweetness with notes of bourbon, citrus and spice.”

The 2017 vintage of Vlad the Imp Aler officially debuted back in mid-September 2019 and will hang around only as long as supplies last.  You can look for this Limited Release offering to be available in 500ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Cascade Brewing’s distribution network.

Alrighty . . . now that we have gone over a bit of this notorious brew’s backstory, let’s pop a bottle and see what Vlad the Imp Aler discloses to us over some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Vlad the Imp Aler (2017) from Cascade Brewing

Appearance: Vlad presents itself as a bright caramel, amber hued brew capped with about a 1/4 finger of white, spritzy foam.  When held to direct light, the amber tones push through and the overall look transitions to more of an apricot color.  The beer is mostly clear and tiny little bubbles can be seen washing about near the top cap.  Head retention is minimal, falling almost immediately to a lasting but very thin ring that drops the occasional dollop of lace on the glass.

Aroma:  The aromatics open with that telltale note of souring bacteria alongside some wet wood.  Bourbon notes then open up with a touch of oak, vanilla and straight boozy bourbon. Vinous qualities are light but there is a bit of wine character layered within.  Citrus tones of orange and lemon lend some acidity and the profile closes with a pretty wonderful dose of funk.

Taste:  The first flavors to hit the tongue are some sweeter tones of honey, caramel, vanilla and light bourbon.  Things then shift suddenly to offer a vinous note that translates as a sweeter white wine note (think Riesling). The Quad base then supplies hints of candi sugar, candied orange peel, and dark fruit that is both sweet and tart – the tart fruit flavor works beautifully with the waves of wild funk and lactobacillus sourness.  The acidity then kicks in with a finish full of citrusy notes from the added orange and coriander.

Mouthfeel:  Heavier side of medium in body with a subtle carbonation presence, this Sour Ale is bright but still maintains a good amount of texture.  The beer balances sweet and sour beautifully while adding just the right amount of acidity.  The vinous notes try to dry things out a bit, but flavors are still allowed to linger a while.  The 11.6% ABV is actually pretty wily, only offering a bit of heat in the throat (nothing near what you expect from almost 12%).  The aftertaste is all honey and citrus.

Final Thoughts:  There is no denying that Vlad the Impaler, the legendary figure in Wallachian history and national hero of Romania, knew how to make an impression. Cascade Brewing’s Vlad the Imp Aler also has quite the personality and easily makes a lasting impression as an incredible American Sour Ale but without all the . . . you know . . . impaling.

Vlad rocks a gorgeous push and pull between sour and sweet that you don’t often find in many Sour Ales (at least not with this level of execution).  The wine and bourbon barrels work beautifully with the base beers and souring bacteria to create a harmonious level of sourness, tartness, sweetness, acidity and even a little drying quality.  Simply calling it a Sour Ale is a disservice because there is so much more going on here. It is a mind-bending experience that challenges your senses and everything you thought you knew about beer. It is unique and memorable.  It is an absolute showstopper. It is Vlad the Imp Aler and you need to get your hands on a bottle or pour while you still have a chance. Prost!

Cascade Brewing Alerts the Craft Beer Community to the Return of Vlad the Imp Aler

cascadelogoCascade Brewing (Portland, Oregon) has officially announced that Vlad the Imp Aler will make its long-awaited return on Tuesday, September 17.

Known to be “one of the most iconic projects in Cascade’s 20-year history of brewing and blending sour beer,” Vlad the Imp Aler is “a combination of quad and blond ales aged in bourbon and wine barrels for up to two years with orange peel and coriander.”  After its lengthy slumber, Vlad the Imp Aler rises to deliver “a fresh acidity and light malt sweetness with notes of bourbon, citrus and spice.”

Vlad the Imp Aler will debut in Cascade’s two Portland pubs – Cascade Brewing Barrel House and Lodge at Cascade Brewing – on September 17 and is scheduled to enter distribution shortly after the on-site release.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 500ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Cascade Brewing’s distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Vlad the Impaler (2017) from Cascade Brewing

Release – Limited; September 17, 2019
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – ???
Treatment – A combination of quad & blond ales aged in bourbon & wine barrels for up to two years with orange peel & coriander
Fun Fact – The release of the 2017 project “marks Vlad’s first bottle release since the 2011 project, and the first time it’s available in 500ml bottles”
Availability – 500ml bottles & draft

Cascade Brewing Announces 2019 Product Release Calendar

cascadenewlogoBeer calendar season is still alive and well, and we are kicking this week off with a peek at the 2019 Product Release Calendar from Cascade Brewing (Portland, Oregon).

Just as we do with each and every beer calendar around here, we have posted Cascade Brewing’s full Product Release Calendar below for you to absorb at your convenience.  With that said, this document is rich in highlights and we would be remiss if we did not go over a few of those real fast.  Let’s get to it:

  • The biggest news on this calendar is that the ever-elusive Vlad the Imp Aler (September) and Bourbonic Plague (December) will both see full distribution in 2019. Both offerings will be available in 500ml bottles for the first time.
  • The brewery’s Core Lineup will feature four new releases in 2019: Valley Flora (January), a sour red ale made with Willamette Valley Pinot-Noir grapes; Brunch Line (February), a mimosa-inspired blend of sour blond and wheat ales aged in oak barrels with Chardonnay grapes and fresh orange zest; Garden Party (June), a blend of sour blond and wheat ales aged in oak barrels with chardonnay grapes, lemon zest and elderflowers; and Coastal Gose (July), a blend of sour wheat ales aged in oak barrels with Oregon Coast sea salt and coriander seed.
  • Cascade’s Collaboration Series will return in 2019 to include projects with Beachwood Brewing from Long Beach, California (March); Mikkel Borg Bjergsø from the world-renowned Mikkeller Brewery in Denmark (May); and Burial Beer Co. of Asheville, North Carolina (October).
  • Cascade Brewing also plans to release four draft-only cellar projects throughout the year.  These offerings will be released quarterly.

Alright, that should just about cover everything we wanted to go over, but there are still plenty of beers and descriptions waiting for you on calendar below.  Check it out and start getting yourself prepared for another incredible year of Northwest Sour Ales from Cascade Brewing.  Prost!

 

cascade2019calendar
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