Two months after Tasmania’s hop harvest, Cascade Brewery rationed 2,850 cases of First Harvest 2012 to retailers across the country and a small number of kegs to a handful of venues in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Anglo-African brewer SABmiller owns Foster’s Group and, through it, Tasmania’s Cascade Brewery. But in a sign of the growing importance of upmarket beer brands, Cascade retains its regional identity in fact as well as in name.
Cascade’s eleventh First Harvest ale retains its Tasmanian origins, giving the beer a sense of time and place. The time is the annual hop harvest – in this case three varieties of hops handpicked and delivered fresh to brewer Mike Unsworth on 14 March.
And the place is Bushy Park Estate in the Derwent Valley. Even the malted barley comes from Tasmania. The result – a full-bodied malty ale cut with ultra-fresh hops.
Cascade First Harvest 375ml 4-pack $18.99
Mmmmm mmmm, what a fine, winter warming brew Mike Unsworth made this year. It’s slightly more alcoholic than Premium Lager (below), deeper coloured (amber versus gold) and more luxuriantly malty – and cut through with pungent hops aroma and flavour. The assertive, lingering, resiny bitter hops offset the sweet, malt opulence.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 30 May 2012 in The Canberra Times