Cascade's Scottish Ale Festival: A Chat with Ron Gansberg

Cascade Brewing Barrel House will host its 1st Annual Scottish Ale Festival on Saturday, January 29, from 3-11 pm.  I visited Cascade in November and tasted their amazing barrel aged sour beers for the first time.
I wanted to learn more about this festival, so I contacted Cascade's Brewmaster, Ron Gansberg.  He was kind enough to sit through an interview and share more details about the festival....

Are you Scottish?  What type of beer would one expect to see at a typical Scottish pub?
I am Scottish on my father's mother's side.  I've never been to Scotland.  I would expect to see a big, rich brown ale.

How did you get the idea to hold a Scottish Ale Fest? 
I've always been interested in Hogmaney and First Foot celebrations at New Years.  We wanted to have the fest then but the time was too short.

You’ve got a great beer lineup planned for this event.  Were any brewed especially for the festival?
Our McShagger Heavy as well as our Black Sheep Stout.  There wasn't enough time for the other breweries to react.  We hope to have more time next year.

The event press release has a great description of the Scotch Ale style.  Were all of the festival beers brewed to this style?  
I'm not sure all the beers will hold to the style...there is some license for interpretation. I think we will have a great range of flavors...but I haven't gotten to try many of them as yet...I sure look forward to doing so!

Tell me about McShagger Scotch Ale.  Was it spiked with lactobacillus and barrel aged?
Our McShagger is a 20 Plato strong brown ale with full body, rich malts, heat from the alcohol and a little smoke in the finish.  We first planned to have the fest on New Year's Eve and only later had to move it to the 29th of January...we didn't have time to barrel age the beer.  We do plan to get some barrel time for this beer next year but we will do so without lactobacillus if we can.

What type of Scottish food be served?  Are you whipping up a batch of haggis?  Do you like haggis?
We plan to have a Scotch Broth and maybe some smoked Salmon.  We may do a Haggis Ceremony...not sure what that is. I think eating Haggis is a personal choice best carried out at home.  I have never had Haggis.

This is a no-cover charge event.  Will you sell drink tickets?  What's the cost?
I think beer will cost will be $4-5 and will be in a 14 oz plastic handled fest mug.  We will do tasters for a buck. We encourage people to bring their own mug from one of the many Portland beer festivals that use this style. We have a supply of mugs from the OBF that we will sell for a dollar and we hope to have our own printed mugs for $3.00.  We want people to reuse the mugs they already have and try to keep it a bit greener.  We aren't doing script this year and will be reviewed for next year.

Will your barrel aged beers be available?
We will be serving all the Fest beers in the aging facility with tables and benches set out as well.  Food will be ordered out of the pub where all our beers will still be served.

Tell me about your band Stone Porridge.  Will you guys be sporting kilts?
Stone Porridge is our Irish Band, we do some Scottish songs as well.  We also play as Black Lodge, doing originals, folk and bluegrass.  Our flute and penny whistle player, Geoffry Fraisure will be in full regalia as his time will be split between the Fest and a Robert Burns Dinner.  Geoffry will pipe us in and will be there for an early set.  We will have some Scottish Poetry and hope to have another piper.

This sounds like it will be a great event and I look forward to checking it out!   Thanks to Ron for taking the time to chat with me!  For more details, check out Cascade's official press release below.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook


Cascade Brewing to Host Portland's first annual Scottish Ale Festival

PORTLAND, ORE. - Jan. 3, 2010 - Nine regional craft breweries will serve up their best Scottish and Scotch ales at Portland's first annual Scottish Ale Festival.  The event will take place on Saturday, January 29 from 3 to 11 pm on the production side of the Cascade Brewing Barrel House at 939 SE Belmont St.

The beer lineup includes Black Raven Brewing's Splinters Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Scotch Ale, Cascade Brewing's McShagger Scotch Ale, Coalition Brewing's Brigadoonery Scottish Ale, Fearless Brewing's Strong Scotch Ale, Lucky Lab's Scottish Holiday, Migration Brewing's Old Silenus, Rock Bottom Brewery's Highland Courage, Schooner EXACT Brewing's Hoppy the Woodsman, and Upright Brewing's House.

The event will feature traditional Scottish music by Cascade Brewmaster Ron Gansberg's band, Stone Porridge, plus a few bagpipers thrown in the mix.   The Cascade Brewing Barrel House will serve its regular menu, as well as a few Scottish specialties.  There is no cover charge for the event.

Both Scottish and Scotch ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a color ranging from deep amber to dark copper, and a higher level of unfermentable sugars that creates a rich mouthfeel and malty flavors and aromas. In Scottish ales, overall hop character is low, light floral or herbal, allowing the signature malt profile to be the highlight.  Scotch ales are sweeter and fuller-bodied, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor.

About Cascade Brewing Barrel House

The Cascade Brewing Barrel House is the barrel and blending house and tasting room for Cascade Brewing's award winning Northwest style sour ales.  The Barrel House is open Sunday through Tuesday 11 am to 10 pm, Wednesday & Thursday 11 am to 11 pm, and Friday & Saturday 11 am to Midnight.  Minors are allowed daily to 10 pm.  For more information, call 503-265-8603 or visit For daily updates, follow the Cascade Barrel House on Facebook and Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thoughts? Tell me what you think.