“The Figaro project is a blend of sour Strong Blond ales aged in chardonnay barrels for up to 18 months with white figs, lemon peel and orange peel. We start this blend with freshly emptied chardonnay barrels from the Willamette Valley wine region and fill them with our strong blond ale, imparting a complex white wine character to the beer with a hint of oak. After several months of maturation, we add lemon peel, orange peel and dried white figs to each barrel and allow a slow, steady fruit fermentation to take place.”
Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.
Appearance: Amber to burnished orange which caps off with a finger of sparse bubble. The head vanishes pretty quickly but still manages a wavy lace as it ebbs.
Aroma: Quite fruity at first and then the hints of Chardonnay begin to take shape. Plenty of citrus – lemon and grapefruit pulp, juice and rind. Picking up really gentle notes of green apple, peppery spice, white wine vinegar, grape skins and pine needle while the dry woody oak sits quietly in the background. Couldn’t pick up any trace of the figs which is a shame.
Flavour: Similar to the aroma in the way that nothing really comes forward. There’s flavour for days don’t get us wrong but it’s quite tempered. Citrus (pulp and rind), white wine vinegar, Chardonnay, straw, peppery spice and green apple make up the bulk of it. Very delicate hints of dry oak here and there. Again…the fig is completely MIA.
Mouthfeel: Not as sharp and acidic as previous Cascade sours. Still plenty of pucker though – rates a healthy 3.5/5. Quite a prominent burn from the 8.4% ABV on the back of the throat. Light-moderate body. Good CO2.
Overall: This is the first time we’ve been undecided over a Cascade beer. It’s not a bad drop by any means…maybe because they brew to such a high standard we have come to expect total perfection? Not sure we’re just not that sold on this one.