Cherryland: Behind the Barrel

By Travis Camacho, Drake’s Barrel Program Manager
January 25, 2018

It’s a pretty exciting time for the Drake’s Barrel Program. We’ve been brewing more and more sour beer over the past year, and our patience has finally paid off with this year’s release of Cherryland, one of our most well received sour beers. Last year’s release just became a Good Food Awards winner.

This will be the second year for Cherryland, and it will be our largest ever sour beer release. This means our fans can finally find some bottles at shops around the Bay Area, and maybe even across California.  

Cherryland came to life three years ago when we were looking for a unique and perfect cherry for our beer. These days most cherries are bred to be table cherries, and its more about sugar size and texture than the actual flavor of the cherry. Thankfully we stumbled upon a little farmstand run by our friends at Lavagnino Orchards in Stockton.

Lavagnino Orchards cultivates a small lot of unique and flavorful Russian heirloom black cherries, called Tartarian cherries. These cherries are small and sweet, but also pack a ton of flavor, and pair perfectly with our Flanders inspired sour red ale.

This year we used 1200 lbs of cherries, or 1.5lbs of cherries per gallon of beer. These black cherries not only contributed a beautiful fruity flavor, aroma, and brilliant crimson color to Cherryland, but also gave us a nice little ABV bump as well.

I won’t bore anyone with tasting notes, but just say that you should come to our SF Beer Week Cellar Sale, try it for yourself, and grab a couple bottles. We’ll also be releasing a couple of other barrel aged beauties while we’re at it, including: Papa Roys Peche’ and bourbon barrel-aged Drakonic Imperial Stout.

If you can’t make it to the event, consider joining our ‘89 Club. Membership gives you early access to new barrel-aged releases and we host exclusive events for club members throughout the year.

Travis Camacho, Drake’s Barrel Program Manager, and author of this blog post.