Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:
Our brewing experimentation with The HOP continues. Up this round: Cascade.
Cascade is the most widely used hop in U.S. brewing and is the hop variety most associated with the dawn of the American craft beer revolution (being as it was the signature hop in such early classic brands as Anchor Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale). It is the quintessential American West Coast hop. It was bred in the U.S. in 1956 and first commercially released in 1972. It is known both for its citrus-floral aroma and its well-balanced bitterness. It is a very versatile hop which is one of the reasons for its extreme popularity.
Recently Cascade hops (whose pedigree is the open pollination of a Fuggle seedling) have migrated out of the U.S. to growing destinations in New Zealand and Hallertau Germany. This begs the question of local terroir: To what extent do local growing conditions and the micro-climate affect the flavor character of the plant? The French answer would be ‘totally and completely.’
We have had the good fortune to be able to source Cascade hops grown in three different countries and in both the northern and southern hemispheres. We have brewed three beers sharing identical recipes which differ only in the country of origin of the Cascade hop used. We also have brewed a fourth beer, with a different recipe, in which we combine in equal parts all three of the differently grown Cascade hops. We call this brew World Cascade Pale Ale.
New Baird Beer Seasonal Releases:
*American Cascade Single-Hop Ale (ABV 5%):
We employ U.S. grown Cascade hops from the 2012 crop harvest. The hops have an alpha acid content of 7.9%. Kettle bittering is a calculated 30 IBUs made in four separate additions. Dry-hopping in the conditioning tank is at 200 g per hectoliter for four days.
*New Zealand Cascade Single-Hop Ale (ABV 5%):
Southern hemisphere New Zealand grown 2012 Cascade hops are employed here. The alpha acid content is 7.3%. All other parameters are the same.
*German Hallertau Cascade Single-Hop Ale (ABV 5%):
These are the first commercially available German Hallerau region grown Cascade hops that we are aware of. Alpha acid content weighs in at 8.6%. These too are from the 2012 harvest.
So what’s the difference? Which do you prefer? Do local growing conditions and micro-climate matter? This is a very serious scientific study so don’t enjoy your tasting too much! To express our gratitude to you as a scientific taster, we brewed a bonus beer also: World Cascade Pale Ale.
*World Cascade Pale Ale (ABV 5.5%):
Our experience brewing with a wide variety of hops is this: single-hop beers are interesting and instructive but the best hop-character beers come through the judicious combining of different varieties. World Cascade Pale is a an equal part combination of Cascade hops grown in America, New Zealand and Germany. This pale ale is a calculated 40 IBUs deriving from six separate kettle additions. It is dry-hopped for 5 days with an even mixture of our three world Cascade varieties. Which Cascade character is most notable? Do you like Cascade hop character?
All four beers begin pouring from the taps of our Taproom pubs tonight (June 14). Kegs are available for immediate release to other Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants in Japan. Bottles of World Cascade Pale Ale also are available for immediate release. The other single-hop beers are keg-only.