Cascade Brewery and Asahi Beverages are strengthening their relationship with Tasmanian farmers by brewing a new beer with them, using fresh hops picked straight from their farm.
The return of Cascade First Harvest means Tasmanian beer lovers can once again enjoy a beer like very few others on the Australian market.
Using some of the season’s first hops picked just hours earlier, it features uniquely vibrant and season-dependant flavours. And 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 something most drinkers have never tasted before.
First Harvest was among Australia’s first fresh hop beers when it was first brewed in the early 2000s. We’re delighted to be relaunching First Harvest in 2021 in recognition that Tasmanian drinkers are increasingly interested in the story behind their beer.
This year’s First Harvest is a well-balanced IPA with fresh hop characters complemented by biscuity malt character and a crisp ale yeast. It was brewed under the watch of HPA’s farmers because of the unique characteristics of fresh hops, making it a collaborative brew.
It 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.
Hops are like the spice of beer, giving it bitterness and aroma while balancing the sweetness of the malt.
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.”
Made using Cascade’s world-class brewing techniques, First Harvest is a rare opportunity for beer lovers to taste a beer that can only be brewed once a year at harvest time and in limited volume because of fresh hops’ short shelf life.
“Our team is passionate about brewing this kind of beer, it’s an exciting challenge and allows them to work directly with the hop farmers,” Mr Cartwright said. “The opportunity to directly support Tassie farmers with this beer, is something we are very proud of.”
Owen Johnston from Hop Products Australia said First Harvest is a rare sensory experience because it accentuates any 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.”
Cascade Brewery and Asahi Beverages are dedicated to working closely with Australian farmers. First Harvest is a showcase of high-quality Tasmanian hops – a key raw ingredient in all Cascade beers.
For almost 200 years, Cascade has been perfecting its craft with water from kunanyi / Mount Wellington behind the brewery.
Cascade First Harvest is available now from the Cascade Brewery Bar and in pubs around the state.
Cascade will host a First Harvest day on Easter weekend, with tastings and free live music on the lawn.
Overlay of farm here: VNR_CASCADE_V2.mp4
Still pic here: Owen Johnston Hops Australia stills.
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