By Andrew Starke
Cascade First Harvest has always relied exclusively on the first harvest of Tasmanian barley and hops to make its limited release ale.
The hops for the 10th anniversary brew were harvested on March 9 at the Bushy Park Estates in the Derwent Valley, north of Hobart.
Along the way Cascade First Harvest has claimed a number of Australian brewing ‘firsts’: the first beer delivered to market that used exclusively fresh, green handpicked hops; it was the first beer (in 2006) to use Galaxy hops and it was the first beer to commit to using experimental hops each year.
This year’s three experimental hop varieties have again been named personally by Cascade’s Max Burslem in a nod to the history of the Tasmanian hop growing industry.
Valleyfield (aroma hop), Lanoma (flavour hop) and Tynwald (bitterness hop) are all original hop drying kilns in Tasmania.
Amongst many others which were built more than 100 years ago, these kilns still stand today in the Derwent Valley.
Cascade First Harvest is made in a single batch and historically sells out before the full snap of winter sets in with only 4,800 cases available for sale.
With the 2011 10th anniversary Cascade First Harvest release his last as head brewer at Cascade, Burslem says each First Harvest brew is unique in its own way.
“The first weeks of autumn mark the annual hop harvest and the brewing of the vintage Cascade First Harvest,” he said.
”This is a very special beer for Cascade, handcrafted using traditional brewing principles, focusing on quality ingredients and traditional techniques to create a uniquely flavoursome brew.
“Using hops that haven’t been used in brewing before means that we’re able to craft a truly unique tasting full-flavoured beer each year, and in doing so, keep challenging our beer lovers’ palates.”
The 10th anniversary release of Cascade First Harvest is available now for a limited time only.
It has an RRP of $19.99 per 375ml four-pack with each bottle containing 1.6 standard drinks or 5.5 percent ABV.