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Iron Hops

Iron Hops: 18th Street Brewery Cascade Express

18th Street Brewery Cascade Express Session Pale Ale (5.0% ABV)

Pour: 16oz can into a tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a hazy pale gold with a healthy amount of thick, persistent head. Good edging, decent lacing

Aroma: Light – a pleasant lemony/candied pineapple aroma dominates, with a burnt sugar/caramel malt note underneath. Not a terribly complex nose, but this smells wonderful nonetheless.

Flavor: Light and smooth, but not a whole lot going on in the flavor profile. Faint lemon and grass notes, but that’s about it. Kind of watery and lackluster overall.

Mouthfeel: Light body, lightly carbonated. Very dry, clean finish.

So in last week’s column I officially declared it Fall, and thus stout season. But I do still have a few IPAs in the ‘fridge, so I’ll be still be throwing in a few of those reviews in along the way.

It’s been a little while since we last checked in with Hammond’s 18th Street Brewing, so this week I’ll be talking about their Cascade Express Session Pale Ale. I’ve written before about my aversion to ‘session’ ales a couple of times before, most recently in my review of Salt Creek’s Out of Order back in August, so I won’t rehash that here. Given 18th Street’s track record with IPAs thus far in this column, though, I didn’t even hesitate when I saw Cascade Express in the cooler at my local. Rarely, however, does a brewery produce nothing but winners, and this might be the first disappointing beer I’ve had from 18th Street.

Cascade is the most popular hop variety in all of craft brewing, and arguably the most instantly recognizable as well thanks to its intense combination of floral and grapefruit notes in the aroma. Interestingly enough, while this beer does smell wonderful, it doesn’t really have much of that typical Cascade aroma in the nose. Instead of grapefruit, there’s more lemon and pineapple in the nose, and there’s a definite malt presence as well. As for the flavor profile, though, there’s just not a whole lot going on – a bit of lemon, a touch of grass, and a whole lot of watery.

Still, based on the 18th Street beer I’ve had thus far, I’d consider Cascade Express an anomaly. Though if you aren’t really a fan of intensely hoppy beers, it might be just your kind of thing. As for me, though, this is the first of their beers that I don’t think I’ll be picking up again.

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