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[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

I eagerly anticipate the release of Cascade Brewing's apricot beer each year. It's fruity, tart, and tangy, with a mouthwatering lactic acidity and a hint of tannin from the oak barrels it's aged in. It's a fun beer to drink.

Making this beer is an intensive process. I asked my contact Chris Crabb about the details. She wrote:

The base beer is finished and has been barrel aged for between 6 and 9 months. The apricots get tested to make sure they are ripe, then checked to make sure they aren't bruised, rotting, etc., then washed, then pitted, then weighed in 25 pound buckets so the brewers know how many are added. When it comes time to add the fruit, half of the aged beer is transferred to a stainless steel tank, where the fruit is added and will sit for another 6 to 8 months. At the end of that period, the other half of the base beer will be blended in."

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[Photo: Chris Crabb]

The beer ends up fresh and rich with apricot flavor, but not sweet or thick. The tanginess is a bit like sour yogurt or apple cider vinegar. Hardcore sour-beer fans may find this beer lacking the complex dimension of bretty Belgian sours, but this beer is tart in an easy-drinking way, and an excellent, delicious introduction for those who haven't tasted a ton of sour beer.

Serve it up with pork chops or just break out the cheese and crackers (Ritz and cheddar or walnuts and Manchego) or save a bottle for Thanksgiving—this beer will be excellent with turkey and cranberries, and it can handle all the flavors on your holiday table.

This beer is available in Oregon and will have at least some distribution in Northern California (through Artisan Distributing), Southern California (El Dorado), Massachusetts (through Atlantic Importing), North Carolina (Freedom Beverages), New York (SKI), the Seattle, WA area (self-distributed), Pennsylvania (Bella Vista Beer), and Florida (through Florida Micro Beverage Distributing.)

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.

Sample provided for review consideration.

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