Monday, October 10, 2011

Pale or Pure - Either Way it's Cascade this Summer

Mmm... Pale Ale
I love beer. And it ain't no secret. Indeed half of you have probably caught me mid-flight in a beer rant on several occasions. Beer has popular appeal, it's ancient - likely the first alcoholic beverage enjoyed by Man with brewing perhaps even pre-dating the invention of baking. Wine is infantile in comparison. And spirits barely even a zygote in the grand scheme of things.

Beer has a wonderful variety not often enough enjoyed in the Australian market which is awash with insipid, flavourless lagers. It's not that there's anything wrong with the majority of these mainstream brews - they're just inoffensive - deliberately so. But they are oh-so-boring. Imagine a world where you could only order Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and vodka - well the majority of Sydney's pubs & bars which offer only mainstream lagers are doing exactly that to beer drinkers.

Fortunately there is a way to combat this. Drink good beer - vote with your mouth. The beer revolution in Australia is already here - Fosters has given up any pretension of being Australian (a shame, but great for the shareholders I guess), mainstream labels are shedding market share and the choice of quality, flavour driven brews is almost as good as it was in Australia before Federation (no kidding).

This revolution isn't confined to small owned and operated 'micro breweries' - the big guys want a slice of the boutique brew pie too. And some,of Australia's oldest breweries like the independent Cooper's or Tasmania's Cascade (incidentally owned by Fosters) have always offered drinkers a flavoursome alternative.

Cascade's Pale Ale (pictured above) dates back to 1832. Indeed at this time it lager style brews were unheard of. It's one of the world's oldest continually brewed beer brands winning its first award back in the 1880s.

But what does it taste like? Well it has a light citrus and hay aroma, with a fruity mid-palate, light to medium malt weight and a cleansing bitterness. It's not revolutionary, but a great stepping stone for someone want to get a little more adventurous with their choice of brews. It's a what you'd call a great session brew - perfect for quenching your thirst around the barbecue this summer. It is, however, very lager like - I must question whether or not this is still a true top fermented ale.

Another release from Cascade for summer is the Cascade Pure. Unfortunately it's low carb, but fortunately its certified carbon neutral, but unfortunately it's low carb - I've said that twice haven't I? I really want to like this brew - but the lack of residual sugars means that there is no palate weight. No palate weight means that you you can't balance the beer with that really pleasing bitterness found in the Pale Ale. Look I think that commercially this will be a success. But this is a beer for your lady. 

Kudos Cascade for the environmental sensibility but can someone please invent extra-carb man beer? There's still men's men in Australia despite what the focus groups might tell you! 

Cheers for the beers Cascade. I look forward to future releases.

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