In other circumstances I would assume that at some point a Vermonter, probably drunk, demanded to know why their Long Trail Brewery hadn’t made a super-IPA using nothing but Cascade hops. Most likey that isn’t true. Professional brewers are often obsessive hermits, so I have to assume that Long Trail’s brewmaster made this beer on a whim and the brewery sold it to maintain good relations with their meal ticket. Don’t get me wrong, the brew isn’t a train wrecking into an airplane full of spiders like that godawful stout from Southern Tier. The Long Trail IPA just seems like a vanity project that accidentally got approved for mass production.
Most brewers use Cascade a an aroma hop because it less bitterness and more of a fruity character. The variety is hugely popular as a finishing touch for the pleasant ‘nose’ it gives a beer, but most brewers start their brew with something with more bitterness and less flavor to give the beer a more bitter foundation. They add the flavorful stuff like Cascade at the end, when hops contribute more to the flavor than the fundamental bitterness. To see this strategy in its purest, most intense form find west coast specialty brewers like Lagunitas or Green Flash. Brewing with nothing but Cascade makes beer seem a little fruity, and if you throw buckets of Cascade hops to make a ‘huge’ IPA it tastes like carbonated grapefruit juice.
Strangely, a buddy and I the same beer yet his looked like Dogfish Head 60 min. in terms of color, head and clarity yet mine was cloudy with protein, like a yellower Hooegarden.
Right now I’m much happier with my own Pale Ale. I dreamed of trying Sam Calagione’s continuous hopping approach as soon as I read about it, and for the homebrewers I can say that it makes a huge difference.