Best Gluten Free Beers

Ghostfish Brewing Cascade Fresh Hop IPA

gluten free beer brands 2023

Cascade Fresh Hop IPA

Brewed By Ghostfish Brewing Company

It’s fresh hop season! And for the gluten free folks, it’s coming a bit later this year than last. At least here on the west coast. I just got my hands on the latest release from Ghostfish Brewing. Actually it’s a double release!

This year, Ghostfish released two fresh hop beers side by side. (I think I remember them doing this last year too.) The 2019 releases include the Cascade Fresh Hop IPA and the Grapefruit Fresh Hop IPA. Today’s taste test is for the Cascade, which is 6.3% ABV and 67 IBU. It’s packaged in 16 ounce cans, with a vibrant bright green label.

Ghostfish Brewing Cascade Fresh Hop IPA 2019 1

It’s brewed with buckwheat in addition to 3 different types of millet malt. This beer is named after it’s primary hop ingredient: the Cascade hop. But it also contains a bit of Chinook in the mix. Cascade hops are one of the craft brewing industry’s most favored varieties. At least they are in the United States.

The Taste Test

Cascade Fresh Hop IPA

The Cascade Fresh Hop IPA pours with a muted orange color that runs saffron orange when you hold it up to light. It has a slight cloud to it. It poured with a decent head (as seen in the beer pour)…that head cleared within a minute though.

It has a wonderful aroma that’s a bit floral and earthy. The first sip reveals a lot of spice on the flavor palate, much more than I detected in the aroma. Same with the malt. This isn’t necessarily a hop-dominant beer, there’s a ton of malt body. I suspect the buckwheat plays a role in that. (Perhaps it’s where I was getting the earthy aromatic properties from as well.) There’s also some light citrus in the taste but overall, this beer is not incredibly fruity.

I would peg the carbonation at a moderate level, but I would take a tiny bit more, personally. The Cascade Fresh Hop IPA has a medium body that is quite dry. Like most fresh hop ales, the hop bitterness is gentle, despite resting at 67 IBU. In fact, I feel that most of the bitterness onsets slowly after the swallow.

This fresh hop beer stands out to me because it doesn’t necessarily follow the typical template for a PNW IPA. It’s not particularly sweet, but it is really malty. It doesn’t scream citrus or pine, like many IPAs do. Instead, this Cascade Fresh Hop IPA proudly displays a spicy floral quality above all else.

At the end of the glass, this is a unique and enjoyable release from Ghostfish Brewing Company. It certainly stands apart from the rest of their IPA offerings, and I really like that they packed in so much malt character without the beer becoming to sweet or heavy.

gluten free beer review

Tasting this Cascade Fresh Hop has me even more excited to taste the Grapefruit Fresh Hop IPA, another fresh hop seasonal released alongside this one. I wonder…will the Grapefruit Fresh Hop taste more like their Grapefruit IPA or their Cascade Fresh Hop? ???? I guess we’ll have to see!

Remember to snatch this beer up if you see it in stores, because its season is short and its release is limited. And if you want to see how the 2019 fresh hop release compares to last year’s Fresh Hops by the same brewery, check out the review for Ghostfish Brewing’s 2018 hop release here.

P.S. Like what I do for the gluten free beer community? Consider buying me a beer for my efforts! ;)

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