SPOILS BE QUICK, HOP TO IT

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

BE­LIEVE it or not, some peo­ple aren’t fond of the aroma of hops.

If you’re one, Cascade’s lim­ited-re­lease 2008 First Har­vest beer won’t be up your al­ley. But for hop­heads such as me, this is a drop well worth grab­bing while you can: only 4300 cases were made.

It’s a ver­i­ta­ble show­case for the noble hu­mu­luslupu­lus . Or three ex­per­i­men­tal va­ri­eties of hops, to be pre­cise: guy fawkes, mill line and strick­land falls, all named af­ter Cascade’s Tas­ma­nian wa­ter sources. The com­pany says they’ve never been used in a beer be­fore. Never mind the usual saaz variety, the Czechs can keep it.

This trio packs a spicy punch, with a lovely flo­ral fin­ish. It’s more bit­ter than pre­vi­ous re­leases, which is also down to the hops. The lim­ited-re­lease beer is an an­nual Cascade rit­ual, brewed for just one day of the year. Ev­ery au­tumn, mas­ter brewer Max Burslem vis­its the Der­went Val­ley hop fields to se­lect the best choices for the re­lease. Within hours of har­vest­ing, the green hops—‘‘dew-soaked’’ if the pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial is to be be­lieved — are on the boil (in most beers, dried hops are used). Burslem says the 2008 brew is in hon­our of Cascade’s wa­ter sources. Wa­ter, af­ter all, makes up 90 per cent of a beer, some­thing brew­eries don’t usu­ally like drinkers to dwell on. This brew will im­prove with time and Burslem sug­gests putting a few bot­tles aside for a few months. Sorry, but it won’t be hap­pen­ing at my place.

Avail­able for a brief time at se­lected re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing First Choice, BWS, Vin­tage Cel­lars and Dan Mur­phy’s; $19.99 for a six-pack of 330ml bot­tles. Barry Oliver

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