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Friday beer: So this is where all the Cascade hops are going

Heineken Light slim canThe question came up Wednesday if really big breweries were buying up hop varieties previously used mostly by smaller breweries.

First, three very big breweries funded the development of Citra — and each eventually rejected it because it didn’t seem suitable for the beers they brew. That’s why it so many brewers can use the variety today.

Second, Heineken began using Cascade in Heineken Light relatively recently. They may have already been boasted about this in advertising — I’m pretty oblivious &#151 but if not this item today in Shanken News Daily indicates they are now:

Heineken USA has launched a new campaign to support its recently-reformulated Heineken Light label. The effort, which seeks to capitalize on Heineken Light’s ‘Best Tasting Low Calorie Lager’ award from the 2013 World Beer Championships, stars actor Neil Patrick Harris and puts the focus on Heineken Light’s new taste and package.

The label’s update includes the addition of Cascade hops, which give the 99-calorie brew a more IPA-like flavor and finish, as well as the introduction of a taller, slimmer-necked bottle and a new 8.5-ounce ‘slim can’ format. The ‘Best Tasting Light Beer’ campaign is currently running across TV advertising, digital, and other platforms.

About that “slim can.” Heineken first introduced a 12-ounce slim can for Heineken Premium Light in 2007. (That’s the one in the picture here. I’d be curious to see what the smaller one looks like.) At the time the goal was to overcome the “Heineken Hurdle” — a perception among light beer drinkers who previously have tasted Heineken that HPL would be too robust for them.

Now there’s a hint, although the one YouTube commercial I looked at doesn’t mention hops, the beer may have a “more IPA-like” flavor. Apparently not a hurdle, although maybe why they’ve limited the dose size to 8.5 ounces.

4 Responses to Friday beer: So this is where all the Cascade hops are going

  1. Gary Gillman July 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    A mass market lager on the light side using Cascade? Sounds much like Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, a mid-70’s lager that innovated the use of the new hop at about the same time Maytag tried it out. We have come full circle and Michael Jackson’s enthusiasm for the crafted approach of the Weinhard, while acknowledging it was not a craft beer in the usual sense, was amply prophetic, as so much of his legendary work.


  2. Bill July 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    Is the recipe standardized in all markets? Are European Heinie-light drinkers getting the Cascade version?

    Weinhard’s brews were quite tasty back in the early 90s. Private Reserve, Blue Boar ale, and perhaps the first red ale I’d ever had.

    • Stan Hieronymus July 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Gary – Reading “Brew Britannia” now, with references to Weinhard’s – a beer that obviously influenced what came after.

      Bill – I don’t now that it is standardized, but best guess is that it is.

      • Gary Gillman July 21, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        Stan, I just finished that book and it is excellent. I’d guess that Sean Franklin found it in northern California when talking to the River City people at the end of the 70’s. Sierra Nevada hadn’t commercialized its pale ale yet. As you know, Blitz-Weinhard was making the Weinhard, so really it’s an example of industrial brewing (partly) influencing the direction of craft brewing. With Heineken using Cascade for the light, it kind of brings it full circle.

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