For this edition of Tasting Notes, we kick it old school with a few cans of OG: Cascade Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia).
Serving as the inaugural release in Wild Leap’s newly-established OG Double IPA Series that explores “the original hops that played critical roles in the evolution of the American IPA”, OG: Cascade is a “lighter, dryer” Double India Pale Ale that showcases the “spicy citrus profile” of the Cascade hop. Although its West Coast roots will make it a bit more floral than previously released DIPAs from Wild Leap, OG: Cascade (8.1% ABV) does feature a couple modern touches such as a reduced level of bitterness (49 IBUs) and “a juicy haze.”
A limited amount of OG: Cascade hit the market in late February, but you should still be able to find some floating around out there. Look for this Limited Release to be available in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Wild Leap’s distribution footprint in Georgia.
Now that we are all caught up on the story behind OG: Cascade, let’s get into a pour and reminisce on the iconic Cascade hop over some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for OG: Cascade Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.
Appearance: OG: Cascade pours a dandelion yellow in color and is capped with just under a finger of creamy white foam. When held to direct light, the deep yellow color holds but some lemony tones do push through at the edges. This DIPA is quite hazy, but a poised carbonation presence can still be seen working within. The head falls rather quickly to a delicate ring that scatters thin lines of lace across the glass.
Aroma: A grassy, floral hop presence is first to greet the nose, but it quickly succumbs to citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon. Soft tones of pine add a cool, resiny spice quality to the profile. The malts contribute just a touch of honey-like sweetness, but these aromatics are absolutely dominated by those classic Cascade hop characteristics.
Taste: The Cascade hops flex their power as the flavor profile opens with resinous pine and a bright, lasting pop of grapefruit zest and juice. Meyer lemon and key lime offer a sweeter citrus quality, taming the hop bitterness a bit. The malts surface just as the hops take on more of a floral character, creating a gorgeous honeysuckle-like note that beautifully ties everything together.
Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a moderate carbonation level, this DIPA is incredibly pillowy and light on the palate. It is impeccably balanced and dries out nicely, but that “OG” West Coast hop bite still slyly sneaks in at the finish. The 8.1% ABV brings a touch of warmth to the throat and belly, but it is not at all out of hand. The aftertaste is a nostalgic mix of resinous pine and grapefruit zest.
Final Thoughts: In one tight, incredibly-composed package, OG: Cascade is simultaneously all that is good in old school West Coast IPAs and the new school breed of Hazy/Juicy IPAs. It boasts a big, punchy Cascade hop aroma that warns of a beautifully assertive hop presence, but the newer hop techniques that were employed here tame the bitterness (avoiding the palate-wrecking days of old) while still thoroughly embracing hoppiness. To further satisfy today’s IPA fan, the grain bill adds that eye-catching haze and oh-so-soft feel that everyone seems to be after. This clash of styles and techniques somehow yields the ultimate hop experience that possesses an unrivaled level of drinkability.
This is a beer that has an obvious appreciation for the past, but it still recognizes all that the present/future has to offer. This forward-thinking sense of nostalgia has completely set OG: Cascade apart from any other IPA/DIPA being produced today. It has something for any hophead out there, and it just might be the best “modern” IPA/DIPA that we have ever had. Seriously, you need to try this while you have the chance. Prost!