Just 5,000 cases of the highly regarded First Harvest Ale from Cascade have been released onto the market for 2013. Brewed using fresh picked hops and the first barley of the season, the Ale is designed to be a celebration of the Tasmanian hop harvest in much the same way as wine celebrates a certain ‘vintage’.

The 2013 permutation of the brew marks the twelfth year of the First Harvest’s production and was again overseen this year by head brewer Mike Unsworth.

Following the tradition that was begun back in 2002, the beer has been brewed with new, experimental hops that have been added to the kettle within hours of being picked. This year the hops have been named for the mountains that surround the Derwent Valley: Wellington (bitterness hop), Belmont (flavour hop) and Field (aroma hop). According to Unsworth, the team is very happy with the hop results.

“The 2013 First Harvest Ale will again live up to expectations” says Unsworth. “It has an aroma of prominent fruity notes with smoky overtones, while the palate exhibits flavours of peach, with a spicy finish ensuring a complex but balanced beer.”

Additionally, this year Ben Milbourne from MasterChef (current Beer & Brewer cover boy Andy Allen’s stable mate) joined up with the team for the hop harvest. He then designed a number of dishes featuring Tasmanian produce – such as abalone, Huon Valley Salmon, Freycinet Shellfish and Cape Grim Beef – to match with the brew.

Available since May 15, fans are encouraged to get in quick.

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