Now, I have my issues with CUB from time to time – not least of which is the fact that Mr Mervis doesn’t seem to answer his mail. But, despite that, when it does do something good, CUB certainly deserves to be applauded.
As I have written previously Cascade First Harvest represents one of the few times in the past decade that CUB has actually been ahead of the beer curve. Back in 20003, they were the first I can recall producing a fresh hop beer.
I’m not sure why but, apart from the quickly discontinued seasonal range (see below) they haven’t really done much at all with the Cascade range. I’d love to see them doing more of it…but showing some commitment to the projects rather than just dropping them if they doesn’t take off straight away.
Anyway, having been lucky enough to have been a guest at the hop picking and the brewing a number of times, I can say that this is one occasion when CUB’s PR machine is not over-hyping the experience by calling it a once-in-a-lifetime beer experience – at least for a beer lover. Unfortunately for beer lovers, it’s always been reserved for assorted celebrities and journalists. Now, for the first time, the experience is being offered to a lucky beer drinker and friend. The details offered on the Facebook page are:
Travel to Tasmania on us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Masterchef’s Ben Milbourne.
From 12-13 March, you and a friend will make Cascade First Harvest brewing history and enjoy a Tasmanian-inspired beer and food matching lunch designed by Ben himself.
The experience will include a visit to the hop fields at Bushy Park to see the hops growing and then harvested, which will include you getting to do a little hand-harvesting of the hops. You will then get taken back to the Cascade brewery where you will get to add the hops to the kettle, before heading across the road to the Cascade Visitor’s Centre where Ben Milbourne will cook a beer-matched meal using local Tassie produce.
If you have a beer bucket list, this should be on it – and all it takes is 25 words or less on what makes Cascade First Harvest so special. My suggested answer is below, but I would recommend coming up with something that CUB would actually print if you want to improve your chances of winning.
Cascade First Harvest is special because it is one of the few times when CUB show the public it has brewers and not just marketers.
In other good news – well not news, because we haven’t confirmed it – it seems as though Cascade is set to revive its long-dormant seasonal range.
As the name would suggest, the seasonal range – which was launched way back in 2003 – involved a spring, summer, autumn and winter release. This was augmented by the First Harvest beer, which was the only one to survive. Cascade was arguably a little ahead of its time, launching these beers relatively early in the current craft beer revival. Even so, it was launched at around the same time as a number of James Squire’s seasonals including the Strong Ale and Colonial Wheat and Lion/Malt Shovel has managed to successfully maintain a routine of regular interesting beer releases since that time.
Nothing has been officially announced about the seasonal releases. Last August I asked Vincent Ruiu, General Manager, Global and Craft Brands, about rumours that Cascade was set to re-release these beers and he declined to comment at the time (as you would expect), but he did undertake to keep us posted. Given he also undertook to keep us posted about his research into Crown Lager but hasn’t replied to a couple of follow-up emails since, I don’t hold out much hope of hearing about these.
Fortunately our ninja research skills tell us that late last year Cascade renewed the trade marks on the four seasonals, which may indicate that a release is due soon. We certainly hope so. Not necessarily because they were blockbuster beers, but because they do put an emphasis on beer and brewing rather than marketing and spin. We like that.
If you win the competititon and hear anything while you are down there…let us know.