Way back during our 1-year AnniBREWsary celebration, I was working my way down the list of barrel aged beers but never quite reached number 15—the Cascade ’05 Yarley Whine aged in barrels with pinot grapes (I think I was comatose by number 12). Fortunately, we had some remaining and decided to put it back on tap for anyone else who might have missed it the first time or tried it on August 2nd and has been pining for a repeat ever since.
It was worth the wait. As you lean in, you’ll get a blast of perfume to the face. That should be your first hint that you’re in for something special. On your first sip you’ll notice there’s a cider-like consistency, resulting in a light carbonation with tiny champagne bubbles and a fruitiness that is neither sharp nor syrupy. Finally, here’s a beer that knows how to be sweet without tasting like liquid candy.
Even better, the Yarley Wine evolves on the taste buds rather than repeating its initial great taste, changing flavor notes and switching between sweet and sour with such smoothness that you won’t even notice the transition. I picked up hints of apples and grapes, but I’m sure there are other fruits here as well that a more refined palate could probably identify. There’s a tiny bite to this beer in the booziness department, but it’s quiet enough that you probably won’t even notice it once you really get involved. And trust me, you will get REALLY involved. Even fruit beer haters need to give this one a shot.