written by Joseph Bair
America’s first legal hop.
Cascades were the first USDA released hop in 1972. Since the Alpha and Beta acids average 5% – it makes the perfect all-purpose hop.
It was derived from a Fuggles seedling and Russian Serebrianka, and most people would say it has a lemony smell and taste to it. It was originally denigrated by others as very catty, and typically overused by those wild colonials.
Another toast to those in the U.S. heartland who made the amber waves of grain, to Scotsman Peter Ballantine for the most influential “beer pitching” yeast, and the precious herb called Cascade hops. These ingredients made the signature taste of the iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Magnum and Perle hops are also used). Cascade implies a modifier and that’s what it is; the imagery of everything pure and precious in the Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, crystal clear water flowing down over waterfalls of the Sierra Nevada’s, cleaning your head and body.
Cascade Hops have become the game-changer for the American Beer Revolution and is still a popular hop grown in the USA; it should never be out of stock in homebrew stores and is usually the least expensive as well.