So I chose to write a short passage about my “a-ha” moment with Cascade hops to do something different.
Picture it: Summer of 2000. My fiance’s parents were living in Portland, OR. The two of us had flown out from Boston to stay with them for a week. It was the first time spending “quality time” with my soon to be inlaws…so some pressure. I certainly had to try to put on a good performance. I was trying to avoid any plotline from the Meet The Parents film.
After a few days of me being grilled (figuratively), my fiance and I rented a car and drove up to Seattle. After checking in, we went down to a brewpub that was close by. We both ordered beers and I am not sure what I got, but I remember finishing off her IPA.
After every sip, there was this sensation of tangy fruit and citrus that I had only had hints of in say a Sierra Nevada. No, this was a Cascade hop bomb….and I had a small epiphany about the power of this hop and its affect on American beer brewing. Here I was in the Pacific Northwest, drinking a beer that defined the area for me but also was definably American…because this beer didn’t taste or smell like beers from other countries.
All good things happened after that pint. Her parents sorta dug me, we’ve been together ever since, and we have two healthy kids now. Frickin’ happy ever after.
Ok, not sure if the IPA had anything to do with it…but I still remember that moment like it was yesterday.
Here are the stats for Cascade hops:
Origin: USA. Bred in 1956, it is a cross between Fuggles with a Ruskie hop variety called Serebrianker(What kind of Cold War espionage was involved in procuring this hop?) It was bred at the USDA sanctioned hop breeding program at Oregon State University. Released to the public in 1972.
Aroma: You know by now. Citrusy, Flowery. Ubiquitous (just joking).
Alpha Acid: 4% to 7%
Typical Usage: Flavoring and Aroma. I have never bittered with it but it can be used that way too.
Beer Styles: American Beers
Read about the other BIG “C” hops: