Cascade’s First Harvest was among Australia’s first fresh hop beers when it was originally brewed in the early 2000s and now, with the harvest just in and wet hop beers increasing in popularity, the Asahi brewery are once again releasing it after it was discontinued in 2016.
Using freshly picked Hop Products Australia (HPA) hops from their Bushy Park Estate this year’s First Harvest ale will only be available in Tasmania with just 350 kegs brewed as part of a trial. If successful it could become an annual event and see kegs of First Harvest exported to the mainland.
In a statement, Cascade said this year’s release is a well-balanced IPA with fresh hop characters from Cascade and Enigma – the first time one of their beers has featured this fresh hop line-up – 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.
“Cascade was perhaps a bit ahead of its time when we launched a similar beer nearly two decades ago,” Cascade Brewery plant manager Jesse Cartwright said. “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.”
HPA’s Owen Johnston 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.”
The Cascade Brewery Bar will host a First Harvest day on Easter weekend, with tastings and free live music on the lawn.