Cashmere: An Elegant Public Hop Variety
Soft, smooth, and luxurious like its namesake, Cashmere is a versatile dual-purpose hop that brings complex aromas of citrus and tropical fruit to the forefront. But don’t be deterred by its fancy-sounding name, in truth Cashmere is a complex hop for the people.
A cross between Cascade and Northern Brewer, Cashmere was released in 2013 through Washington State University’s hop breeding program. The result was a unique hop with a lush, tropical sensory profile. Intensely fruity, with strong overtones of lemon, lime, peach, and melon, and secondary notes of coconut and lemongrass.
An important fact about Cashmere is that it’s a public hop variety – it’s accessible to all growers and brewers. Public hop breeding is a collaboration between growers, brewers, and the US Department of Agriculture that ensures input from the brewing industry. Public hop varieties are developed to optimize the qualities that both brewers and growers value: all the myrcene in the world won’t help if it’s not created by a hardy plant that can withstand drought, disease, and pests. Public hop breeding ensures that all growers have access to new hop varieties, and that brewers have access to high-quality hops at a good price.
And both brewers and growers have noticed: according to the USDA’s 2021 Hop Planting Report, Cashmere plantings increased by nearly 300 acres in the last growing season.
Whether as a component of a blend or a featured soloist, Cashmere is a natural for IPAs of all substyles, but it is equally at home in sours, lagers, or any other formulation where a shot of tropical/citrus/fruit flavor is welcome. Some examples you can try include Big Rock Brewery’s Cashmere Crooner, Royal Fresh from Deschutes Brewery and pFriem’s Cashmere Single Hop Pale.
Cashmere shines best when used for late additions. Although its alpha acid and co-humulone levels mean it can contribute a smooth and clean bitterness when used as an early kettle addition, its fab fruity flavors will be lost in the boil.
Whether you choose to use Cashmere in a hazy IPA or a sour, during the boil or in the whirlpool, on its own or making up a house blend, let us know what you think! LetsTalkHops@bsgcraft.com