In the last few years, we've seen many breweries release mixed fermentation and wild ales. McMenamins is no stranger to this realm. I got my first taste of their Cerberus Wild Ale three years ago at the Cornelius Pass Roundhouse Brewfest. In that incarnation (pictured below), three wheat beers were blended, inoculated with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, and aged for four months in a Hogshead whisky barrel. While I don't have my tasting notes, it was a memorable beer!
|2016 McMenamins Cerberus|
Flash forward three years, and McMenamins has released Cerberus in 500ml bottles. This year's edition is a blend of Golden Ale, Nectarine Brett Pale, and a Ginger Hibiscus Gose. Like its 2016 cousin, it was dosed with Brettanomyces Bruxellences and aged in a Hogshead Whiskey barrel–but this time it slumbered for two years in the barrel.
|McMenamins 2019 Cerberus Wild Ale|
The brewery sent me a sample bottle which I cracked open last weekend. Here are my tasting notes:
Aroma is loaded with juicy stone fruit. The taste starts with bright apricot. In the middle, subtle ginger emerges along with some funky and earthy notes. Faint whiskey is present–and that's a good thing, in my opinion, as it could easily overpower. Cerberus is light bodied and leaves a prickly effervescence on the tongue. It finishes with apricot and a distinctive funk from the secondary Brett fermentation.
Cerberus is a blend of three different ales that meld together seamlessly to create a distinctive beer with a life of its own. Although it has many layers of flavor, I can't distinguish the individual components. But there is no need to do so. It just works! At only 6.17% ABV, the alcohol is not noticeable, it drinks very easily, and is well balanced.
Cerberus is a limited release and is priced at $10 for a 500mL bottle. For a mixed fermentation, two year-old barrel-aged beer—that's a relative bargain in my humble opinion. Check it out at McMenamins 23rd Ave Bottle Shop and other McMenamins locations, while they’re still available!