SPOILS BE QUICK, HOP TO IT
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