Cascade’s fresh hop beer brewed for beer lovers
Cascade Brewery is again working with Tasmanian farmers to produce First Harvest fresh hop beer, after the runaway success of last year’s brew.
The return of Cascade First Harvest will give Tasmanian beer lovers a beer like few others on the Australian market, with hops picked fresh from a local farm just hours before being brewed.
This special beer can only be brewed once a year during harvest and tastes slightly different each year depending on which hop varieties are used and the season’s influence on their flavour.
The fresh Cascade and Enigma® hops are picked from Hop Products Australia’s farm Bushy Park Estates outside Hobart and made into an IPA beer.
This year’s First Harvest is focussed on a solid backbone of malts that create clean, biscuit and bread notes to the highly hopped ale. The lightly coloured malts mean First Harvest 2022 is lighter with less malt sweetness than the 2021 release.
As beer lovers become more adventurous, they want to experience different tastes and characters. Fresh hop beers have grown in popularity, with people interested in the stories behind the beer they enjoy and learning about the process and how brewers draw out certain flavours.
Hops are an essential ingredient of good beer. They give the brew its flavour and, while often fruity, spicy and aromatic, hops also act as a natural preservative and balance the flavours from the malt.
Using fresh hops is an ancient method that creates an earthy, vibrant beer with wood, pine and floral characters. Fresh hops offer a softer, more subtle flavour without the bitterness found in many other beers.
Usually, beer is brewed with dried hop pellets as hops are harvested just once a year, in March.
Cascade Brewery head brewer Brendan Flanagan said:
“As brewers, we love to make this kind of beer. Our use of the traditional hop-back process during brewing ensures we are maximising the contact time and extraction of these beautiful hop oils and flavours into Cascade First Harvest. The benefits of our brewing process become evident when the finished beer hits the bottom of the glass and the wet hop aromatics from the Cascade and Enigma® hops are released from the beer for your enjoyment!”
“It also gives us an opportunity to work directly with local hop farmers and draw on their expertise to create something really special.”
The special brew is only available in Tasmania and just 180 kegs will be brewed.
Carlton & United Breweries, which is custodian of the Cascade Brewery and part of the Asahi Beverages family, will distribute First Harvest beer to pubs that currently stock regular Cascade beers. CEO Danny Celoni said: “Publicans and venue owners have told us these initiatives help create interest in tap beer at their venues. As a business, we will continue to listen to our customers and consumers and prioritise initiatives that drive category expansion and value creation.”
Owen Johnston, Head of Sales and Marketing at Hop Products Australia said “fresh hop beers are a chance to remind people about the fundamental connection between Aussie beer and Aussie agriculture, while introducing unique tastes and flavours to beer lovers.”
“We experienced a very mild growing season, with cooler daytime temperatures in spring and summer, which suited our Aussie hops,” said Mr Johnston.
“Working with fresh hops gives brewers a chance to slow down, do something different and celebrate the romance of harvest season and fresh hops with their local community.”
Cascade brewed the inaugural First Harvest almost two decades ago, before bringing it back last year.
Cascade Brewery and Asahi Beverages are committed to supporting Australian farmers, recently announcing a deal to use 50,000kgs of Tasmanian raspberries in products such as Mercury Cider and in cordials, juices and fruit drinks.
For almost 200 years, Cascade has been perfecting its craft with water from Kunanyi/Mount Wellington behind the brewery.
Cascade First Harvest is now exclusively available from the Cascade Brewery Bar, Cascade Airport Café and Bar and select pubs around Tasmania.
Learn more about brewing with freshly harvested hops in our Green Hops podcast.