In 1998, Art Larrance – one of founding fathers of craft brewing in Oregon – established The Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub in Southwest Portland. At the same time, he installed a 10 barrel brewhouse on the bottom floor of the restaurant and called it Cascade Brewing. His goal was to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere for families to enjoy quality food and craft beer brewed on-site.
Now, almost 20 years later, Cascade Brewing has become known worldwide for its award winning Northwest sour beers. Its eastside tasting room, the Cascade Brewing Barrel House, has become a must stop destination for beer tourists visiting Portland. Yet many who eat at the Raccoon Lodge have no idea a brewery exists just one floor below.
Larrance has set out to change that by renaming the Raccoon Lodge The Lodge at Cascade Brewing. A new exterior neon sign made its debut last week, and a new website – LodgeatCascade.com – is now home to all the pub’s information.
When asked why the name change, Larrance explained, “We want to emphasize who we are and what we have been for 20 years, which is Cascade Brewing. Our company has undergone a rebranding this year, changing our logo and our beer labels. Renaming the restaurant is the final step of the rebrand.”
The restaurant will continue to offer the same great food and service it’s known for, served alongside its cozy fireplace. The Lodge has a reputation as a family friendly destination, and that hasn’t changed, including the popular “Kids Eat Free” program, providing kids ages 12 and under a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree every Monday.
What customers will see is a new menu with old favorites and new items to try, including a daily soup and chili. There’s an increase in the number of beers – especially the brewery’s award winning sours – available; the restaurant has installed a second cooler upstairs to add six new sour beer tap handles. The Oregon Lottery machines have been removed from the downstairs Den, and replaced with more seating.
Cascade’s distinctive sour ales are developed with a house culture of lactobacillus bacteria, which produces the acid that makes the beer sour. The brewery also frequently incorporates locally grown fresh fruit into these ales, such as cherries, apricots, berries and grapes. The resulting beers offer a complex array of flavors and aromas derived from the acid, the fruit, and the residual flavors present in the barrels in which they age.
Bacterial fermentation is a natural process that requires long-term maturation in oak barrels; Cascade’s beers are aged for up to several years. Each barrel produces a different effect, so the brewery blends the various barrels until it believes it has the perfect beer. Sour beers take an exceptionally long time to develop, but they are well worth the wait. And now visitors to The Lodge at Cascade Brewing will be able to experience a greater selection.