In the early 2000s Cascade First Harvest was one of the first Australian fresh hop beers to be produced, before being discontinued. Now as the style increases in popularity Cascade Brewery and Asahi Beverages have decided to bring the beer back.
The return of Cascade First Harvest sees Cascade and Asahi strengthen relationships with Tasmania’s hop growers, working collaboratively and using fresh hops picked straight from the farm.
The use of fresh hops – picked from Hop Products Australia’s farm Bushy Park Estates outside Hobart – means the beer can be brewed only once a year and is distinctly fresh and vibrant.
This year’s First Harvest is described as “a well-balanced IPA with fresh hop characters complemented by biscuity malt character and a crisp ale yeast”. The beer was brewed under the watch of HPA’s farmers because of the unique characteristics of fresh hops, making it a collaborative brew.
Cascade Brewery plant manager Jesse Cartwright said: “Beer is usually brewed with dried hop pellets for consistency and the ability to brew all year round. Using fresh hops is an ancient method and creates a herbaceous and particularly vibrant beer with woody, piney and floral characters.
“We think people will love the taste, particularly as it’s the first-time fresh Cascade and Enigma hops have ever been used together in a Cascade beer to create a truly one-of-a-kind drop.
“Cascade was perhaps a bit ahead of its time when we launched a similar beer nearly two decades ago. But the growing interest among Tasmanian drinkers in the provenance of beer and different tastes means we think the time is now right to again launch this amazing beer.”
Owen Johnston from Hop Products Australia said fresh hop beers like First Harvest are a rare sensory experience because they accentuates seasonal differences in flavour, much like a wine vintage.
“Fresh hop beers tell a great story about the connection between Aussie brewers and Aussie agriculture,” he said.
“Beers like First Harvest are a true demonstration of ‘bine to bottle’, in the same vein as ‘paddock to plate’, with only hours between the hops being harvested and arriving at the brewery. It’s a special opportunity for beer lovers.”
This year’s Cascade First Harvest will be available only in Tasmania and just 350 kegs will be brewed as part of a trial, which if successful could become an annual event and see kegs of First Harvest exported to the mainland. It is available now from the Cascade Brewery Bar and in pubs around the state.