The annual Cascade hop harvest begins!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The annual hop harvest for Cascade Brewery Co’s officially gets under way today (Wednesday, 14th March) with the picking of the hops as part of the brewing process for the 2012 Cascade First Harvest vintage ale release, to be led for the very first time by Head Brewer, Mike Unsworth.

As the name implies, First Harvest is crafted with the first harvest of Tasmanian barley and hops of the season, making it renowned for its noteworthy intensity, balance and a unique fresh hop character.

The hops for the 2012 Cascade First Harvest ale will be hand-harvested today at the well-known Bushy Park Estates in the stunning Derwent Valley, north of Hobart, and the limited release brew will be available to beer lovers in early May.

This year’s three experimental hop varieties which have never been used in brewing before are Campania (bitterness hop), Triabunna (flavour hop) and Ellendale (aroma hop). All have been named after historical hop growing areas in Tasmania, where hops were produced for local beer production throughout the 19th century.

The limited release ale was the first beer of its kind to be produced in Australia, brewed using exclusively fresh, green handpicked hops and was the first beer to commit to using experimental hops each year, thus leading the charge for the development of new hop varieties in Australia.

Cascade First Harvest is made in a single batch and historically sells out before the full snap of winter sets in with only 3,600 cases available for sale. A testament to the Cascade team’s labour intensive, time dependent and hand-crafted brewing philosophy, the result is the creation of a beer that is truly unique.

Head brewer at Cascade, Mike Unsworth is eager and excited to begin the creation of his first Cascade First Harvest release.

A highlight every year for Cascade, I’m really excited to be brewing my first vintage of First Harvest and continuing the tradition of giving our fans a beer that is so distinctive,” said Unsworth ahead of today’s hop picking.

Based on this year’s hop selection and the traditional style of First Harvest, we anticipate the 2012 brew to exhibit aromas and flavours of peeled fruits and blackberries over nettles, green leaves and ground spices. The finish should deliver a resinous bitterness which should blend in with the malt base to give a well-balanced hoppy beer,” Unsworth continued.

The 11th anniversary release of Cascade First Harvest will be available for a limited time only in 4 packs of 375ml bottles with a RRP: $19.99 from the first week of May at selected retailers nationally including Dan Murphy’s, First Choice and Vintage Cellars.

About Campania

Campania is situated in the Coal River Valley, an area more associated with wine but originally settled to mine the local coal. The valley was used as grazing land and for pastureland, including the growing of hops which was supplied to the early breweries around Hobart in the 1820s and 1830s.

About Triabunna

Triabunna is situated on the East Coast, an area where hops were produced successfully in the late 1800’s with mild, sunny summers producing good crops. Hops were grown here on a small scale, manually picked and dried in small timber and brick kilns and supplied to local beer producers.

About Ellendale

Ellendale is located in the upper reaches of the Derwent Valley, above the larger hop growing areas in the region. Hop growing increased in popularity here from the 1870s with 42 growers being listed by 1910. Hop kilns of various sizes have been built in this area, some of which are still standing today.

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Cascade Appoints New Head Brewer

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Cascade Brewery Co has appointed as its new Head Brewer following on from Max Burslem’s transition to the newly created role of Transformation Manager.

With more than 20 years brewing experience in English breweries in Berkshire and Manchester, Mike started his career in a small brewery working on the development of craft style beers.

On his appointment at Cascade, Mike said he is delighted to take on the task of Head Brewer and is already feeling at home in Tasmania.

“Cascade is an incredible brewery and site, with a strong tradition and heritage in brewing. Cascade’s founder Peter Degraves chose this site for brewing in 1824 for the quality of its water and the brewery continues to benefit from his foresight.”

“Cascade is unique amongst Australian breweries in that it continues to malt barley for brewing in its own maltings and it continues to focus on traditional brewing methods.  This combination results in high quality beers which are valued and enjoyed by beer lovers.  I’m amazed by the innovative ideas and new products developed by the Cascade team.  Our relationships and support for Tasmanian farmers and growers ensure the highest quality ingredients are used for our beers.”

Mike said he was looking forward to working with Cascade’s former Head Brewer Max Burslem and the Cascade team over the coming months to ensure Cascade continues its rich tradition of brewing beers enjoyed by beer fans around Australia.

Cascade Brewery Co is Australia’s oldest brewery and is renowned for using Tasmania’s high quality barley and hops together with the pure mountain waters of Mount Wellington to brew its range of acclaimed beers.

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Boatrocker Alpha Queen 5.0% Alcohol

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I am not the biggest fan of hoppy IPA’s etc but I still like a beer with assertive hop flavours that jump out at you. The Boat Rocker Alpha Queen seems to fit this category perfectly, brewed in Melbourne, they add loads of Cascade hops late in the kettle and then dry hop loads more afterwards, giving intense flavour without the intense bitterness.

Decanting into a glass the Alpha Queen is clear amber colour with an off white head that stands around 1cm tall. The smell is bountiful with intense pine, toffee and grapefruit aromas predominating.

On the palate the hops start mild tricking the drinker into thinking that is all there is, but around the halfway mark they kick in with a no holds barred attack before subsiding to a assertive yet mildly bitter after taste. Grass, spice and citrus ( mostly grapefruit ) are the main flavours noticed from the hops, with caramel and biscuit malt acting as a base to keep the bitterness in check.

Verdict: Very refreshing, unbeatable on a hot summer day,leaves the drinker hanging for a second. Would be awesome to enjoy with a nice big steak or similar.

Rating: 8.0 / 10

Link: Boat Rocker Brewing Company

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