It’s impossible not to wax lyrical about the Cascade Brewery. It is the oldest working brewery in the country, one of the quaintest-looking industrial buildings and it’s located in the most picturesque of settings. Leading colonial artist Haughton Forrest famously painted it and it is still the most photographed Australian brewery, often set against the majestic backdrop of a snow-capped Mount Wellington. It has survived destructive bushfires and changes in ownership, and the fact that it continues to operate into the 21st century is a marvellous stroke of good fortune. The original building dates back to 1832 (the 1824 emblazoned on the façade refers to the date founder Peter Degraves arrived in Australia from England) and was described, rather breathlessly, by visiting Melbourne journalist Julian Thomas in 1894 thus: ‘Massively built of granite, four and five storeys high, the brewery only wants towers instead of chimneys to play the part of a castle.’ It is, in fact, made of sandstone but let’s not let the facts stand in the way of a good yarn. Either Thomas had an uncanny premonition or someone took note of his words because, in 1927, a castellated façade was added to the original construction, which created something close to the effect that he had imagined. Thomas added the following prediction: ‘I dare say it will be standing a hundred years hence, its pale ale as popular a drink as in these days.’ He was right on the first count but Cascade Pale Ale’s popularity had been thoroughly eclipsed by the likes of Cascade Draught and Cascade Premium Lager by the mid 1990s milestone nominated by Thomas (not to mention the fact that Pale Ale had become a lager a few decades after his visit). During the 20th century Cascade became the dominant southern Tasmanian brewery and, by the late 1980s, the brewery was ‘exporting’ significant quantities of beer to mainland Australia and beyond. By this stage it was controlled by a New Zealand company (Industrial Equity Ltd) and in 1993 was acquired by Carlton & United Breweries (later renamed Foster’s). In recent years it has brewed various brands from the vast Foster’s portfolio, while some of its own brands have suffered from a degree of over- marketing from the parent company. New ranges, new labels and bottle shapes and sizes have come and gone with scatter-gun effect, but positive developments have included the annual First Harvest Ale and catering for significant numbers of beer tourists embarking on tours and tastings.
A well-balanced premium lager sits a notch above the more mainstream lagers, along with an under-valued stout and the barnstorming annual First Harvest Ale.
Cascade Premium Lager
Behind the Label
Launched in 1987, Cascade Premium Lager anticipated the modern trend towards smartly packaged, Europeanstyle lagers that were a cut above the standard local beers. It was soon challenging Crown Lager in the premium-lager sector and – by the mid-1990s – was joined by a compatriot brew from Boag’s. The pair of Tasmanian tigers featured on the original label reinforced Tasmania’s pristine wilderness credentials and soon earned the beer a nickname: ‘Two Dogs’. This was a reference to a certain risqué joke of the time but was also a more accurate description of the (almost certainly) extinct animal which was, in reality, more canine than feline. A single Tassie tiger graces the latest label version.
131 Cascade Road, South Hobart 7004 Tours available; bar; restaurant; takeaway salescomments powered by Disqus