Review: Beer No. 1 (Cherry Tart), 10 Barrel

Beer No. 1, Cherry Tart
10 Barrel Brewing Co. — Bend, OR

  • Style: Brown / Sour Ale 
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV:  6.0%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Special Ingredients:  Cherries
    • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle 

    Description:  You like new beers and we have short attention spans so here we go... We’ll keep putting new beers into this bottle until we get bored or run out of good beers. It could be 1 or 50 beers... Your guess is as good as ours! Beer No. 1 is Cherry Tart. We brewed this brown ale with six different specialty malts, soured it in the mash and aged it on tart cherries post fermentation creating this layered sour that’s hard to brew and easy to crush. — 10 Barrel Brewing Co. 

    Random thoughts:  The plain label and lack of a fancy name instantly drew my eye when I saw this bottle in the beer case. The pedestrian name isn't exactly a surprise coming from the brewery that named one of their beers Swill. After reading No. 1's description (listed above), I quickly put the bottle in my cart. Many beers don't measure up to their own descriptions, so 10 Barrel has set a high bar for this new release. Let's how Beer No. 1 performs...

    The tasting:  
    Brownish red in color, nearly opaque, with an off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Aroma of light cherry. The flavor of tart cherry immediately pops with the first sip.  A lactic tartness and cherry are prominent throughout. In the middle, biscuit and toasted malt flavors poke through the tartness. As the beer warms, notes of plum emerge. Alcohol is not present in aroma or flavor and hop bitterness is not present. Beer No. 1 is light bodied and softly carbonated. It has a creamy mouth feel and finishes with a lingering lactic twang.

    5 star.  Liquid Perfection!   
    This beer far exceeded my expectations. After I finished the bottle, I wanted more. It's actually not tart—it's sour. If you drink the beer slowly, and let it warm up, you'll be treated to additional layers of flavor.

    Sour beers are difficult and often time consuming to make. As a result, they're generally more expensive than a typical beer. In addition, No. 1 was also aged with cherries. I'm not sure exactly how 10 Barrel is able to price this at less than $5 for a bomber (I paid $3.99 on sale at Freddy's), but I'm not complaining! So, for just the 9th time in nearly 340 beer reviews, I'm awarding Beer No. 1 my highest rating. 

    If you've never had a sour beer, this is a low-cost opportunity to try a great one. If you like sour beers, you'll appreciate the excellent value. Beer No. 1 is a limited release, so run—don't walk, and pick up a bottle. I went back to the store and bought three extra bottles. I think I need more...

    Have you tasted Beer No. 1?  How did you like it?

    8/2/14 update:  Earlier this week, 10 Barrel announced a recall of Beer No. 1 just a few days after they recalled Swill.  Full news release is below.  I have 3 bottles of Beer No. 1 in my fridge.  I'd saddens me greatly to have to dispose of them...

    Update on Swill Recall Notice

    After two days of continuous testing, researching, and investigating by our entire team (including outside help), we have been able to discover the root cause of the issue. We used a unique and specific enzyme in the brewing process thats purpose is to break down complex starch strains and reinvigorate early fermentation in some of our sour beers. This enzyme is the cause of the issue we are having. It's important to note that there are no health concerns if this product has been consumed. 

    With this discovery comes an ADDITIONAL RECALL notice. This enzyme was also used in the first beer of our number series, a Cherry Tart named Beer #1. Though this beer was brewed and sold a couple of months ago, we fear that there is still some remaining in your beer cellars, refrigerators, or other storage areas. Please, if you still have Beer #1, dispose of it in the same method that we asked for Swill in the below post.

    To contact the brewery regarding a refund, please call or email the same information for the Swill recall. or (541) 678-5427. 

    We apologize greatly for these issues and inconveniences. We are absolutely confident that this discovery will prevent this issue from happening in the future in any of our beers. We thank you all for following the instructions of the recall, as well as your support. 

    10 Barrel Brewing Company

    Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook


    1. That "sale price" was wrong... That was actually about a buck or so below cost. It happened in Boise too. Actual price should have been $8-9, but even then it is a pretty awesome sour. It would have been $25 if the Bruery made it. :-)

    2. My favorite one I regularly enjoy with family and friends . There is always a great range of beers available.


    Thoughts? Tell me what you think.