By the 1970s, the main United States bittering hop was a strain called Cluster, grown largely in the Yakima Valley in Oregon and the Willamette Valley in Washington. Cascade holds the distinction of being the first American-produced flavoring hop, utilized to impart a unique flavor profile in the beer. It was created in response to a disease that plagued German hop farms in the late 1960s, and was given a boost in funding by the Coors brewing company when they purchased millions of pounds of Cascade hops, but abandoned their usage because they did not mimic the flavor of German Hallertauer hops that breweries such as Coors or Anheuser Busch typically used. Anchor ended up using Cascade in bold fashion, adding them once during the primary brewing cycle, then giving the brew a second addition, referred to as dry-hopping. The resulting brew was a pale, tawny colored, with an intense and complex aroma that blended slightly spicy notes with grapefruit like aromas. Liberty Ale stands as the marriage of tradition and innovation; a truly Californian invention made possible by an old English beer style, an experimental hop variety, and the small brewery in San Francisco. Liberty was a masterpiece brew, but also ahead of its time. The beer sold poorly upon release in 1975, selling 530 cases worth by the end of the year.136 American beer drinkers were unprepared to accept such a bitterly hopped beer; one can glean the attitudes of the market by advertising at the time. Schlitz of Milwaukee touted their beer as having “just a kiss of hops, and none of the bitterness.” Rheingold from New York proclaimed their beer as “extra dry,” a buzz term for a beer with less distinctive hop flavor.
Eric Ortega, “The Golden State of Brewing; California’s Economic and Cultural Influence in the American Brewing Industry” (Master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2015), 58-59.