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Cascade Hops: The Zesty Trailblazers of Craft Beer


Cascade hops have long been revered as one of the trailblazers in the craft beer revolution. With their signature zesty and citrusy character, Cascade hops have left an indelible mark on the world of brewing. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating journey of Cascade hops, exploring their origins, unique characteristics, and the impact they have had on the craft beer industry.

The Origins of Cascade Hops

Cascade hops trace their roots back to the United States, where they were first developed in the 1950s. They emerged as a result of crossbreeding English Fuggle hops with Russian Serebrianka hops, combining the best attributes of both varieties. Named after the Cascade Mountain Range in the Pacific Northwest, where they were initially cultivated, these hops quickly gained popularity for their exceptional flavour and aromatic qualities.

Unique Characteristics of Cascade Hops

Zesty Citrus Aromas

Cascade hops are renowned for their vibrant citrus aromas, characterized by notes of grapefruit, lemon, and orange zest. These enticing aromatics are a hallmark of Cascade hops and make them a popular choice for brewers looking to infuse their beers with a burst of citrusy goodness.

Pleasant Floral Notes

In addition to their zesty citrus character, Cascade hops also contribute pleasant floral undertones to beers. These delicate floral notes add complexity to the hop profile, enhancing the overall aroma and creating a well-rounded sensory experience.

Moderate Bitterness

Cascade hops provide a moderate level of bitterness, making them versatile for use in a variety of beer styles. Their alpha acid content typically ranges from 4% to 7%, striking a balance between the bitterness and the vibrant aromatics they offer.

Dual-Purpose Hops

Cascade hops are considered dual-purpose hops, meaning they can be used for both bittering and aroma purposes. This versatility allows brewers to utilize Cascade hops at different stages of the brewing process, from early additions for bitterness to late additions or dry hopping for aroma and flavour enhancement.

Impact on Craft Beer

Cascade hops have made a lasting impact on the craft beer industry, playing a pivotal role in the development of iconic beer styles and setting a new standard for hop-forward beers. Here are a few ways Cascade hops have influenced the craft beer landscape:

West Coast IPAs

Cascade hops have become synonymous with West Coast IPAs, a style known for its bold hop bitterness and vibrant citrus aromas. These hops played a significant role in shaping the character of West Coast IPAs, contributing to the style’s distinctive piney and citrusy hop profile.

American Pale Ales

Cascade hops have also found their place in American Pale Ales, infusing these beers with their zesty and floral qualities. They contribute to the balanced hop character of American Pale Ales, creating a harmonious interplay between malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

A Staple in Craft Breweries

Cascade hops have become a staple in the hop repertoire of craft breweries worldwide. Their availability, versatility, and distinct flavour profile make them a popular choice for brewers across various beer styles, from hop-forward IPAs to refreshing pale ales.

Influence on New Hop Varieties

Cascade hops have not only made an impact in their own right but have also played a significant role in the development of new hop varieties. Through selective breeding and crossbreeding, breeders have created hops that carry the influence and characteristics of Cascade hops, expanding the range of flavours available to brewers.


Cascade hops have left an indelible mark on the craft beer industry, bringing zesty citrus aromas, floral undertones, and moderate bitterness to the forefront. From their humble beginnings in the Pacific Northwest to their widespread use in breweries around the world, Cascade hops have become an integral part of the craft beer revolution. Whether it’s the refreshing bite of a West Coast IPA or the delicate balance of an American Pale Ale, Cascade hops continue to captivate beer enthusiasts with their vibrant flavours and aromatic qualities. So, the next time you sip on a beer showcasing Cascade hops, raise your glass to these trailblazing hops that have shaped the landscape of craft beer as we know it today.