CascaZilla - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,172 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,172
Reviews: 581
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 47
Gots: 93 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: shippos on 07-14-2004

The name CascaZilla (Cas-kuh-zil-uh) is a play on both the name of a gorge in Ithaca called Cascadilla and the monster amounts of Cascade Hops we use to make the beer. The predominant flavor and aroma of this beer comes from fresh American hops. CascaZilla gets its distinctive red color from a healthy portion of caramel malt, which also lends to the beer, a hearty body and sweetness. It is a hoppy red ale!
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,172 | Reviews: 581
Photo of mikeys01
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intrigued by this self proclaimed “monstrously hoppy red ale”, I had to try this Ithaca brew. The ‘Zilla poured into my glass a slightly rosy amber color, with a foamy eggshell white head, and as crystal clear as can be. I wouldn’t really call it a red, but the aroma does hint at a fair level of hoppiness at least. In the nose, I’m getting grassy and floral hops and a fair bit of floury breadiness.

Taste presents plenty of malt up front commingled with pine and grapefruit. Quite well balanced in fact, low bitterness for the amount of hop flavor and a pleasant caramel malt sweetness in through the middle. Body is on the lighter side of medium, and all around this is a pretty easy drinking beer. Finish left me with a bit of honey sweetness and mild lingering hop flavor. Although I wouldn’t call this beer either monstrous or red, it is a good, tasty, almost sessionable brew and worth trying.

Photo of edchicma
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour an amber copper with an initially large head that dissipates quickly leaving a bit of lacing. Floral hops are the main aroma..not overpowering...just right. A hint of malt starts on the front exploding into a nice hoppy presence that satys throughout. Bitterness is just about right. Very smooth yet with a bitter finish that is just right. Smoothness as menytioned before...yet with a nice hop finsih.

Photo of TrickKnee
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the hoppiest beers i have had lately, although not to hoppy to take away from the overall flavor, that is what you get with the cascade hops. the taste in your mouth is unbelievable. The caramel malts really come out too. Although it is a red ale it was not overly red and not a flavor that you would associate with one.

Photo of ChuckD
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Shoreline poured into a Saratoga Brewing Co. pint glass. Slight tawny lacing atop a wonderful ruby red/shiny copper body. A beauty to look at.

To the nose the malts are most prevalent. The floral bouquet is in the back, but it's mostly the sweetness that is there. A little understated for a beer that markets itself as being "monstrously hopped"

In the mouth, this stuff is a winner. The usual red ale malt goodness right upfront. It is the predominant taste throughout. The hop character is present and works well in balancing the brew. As it warms, the tastes are fantastic and subtle sugars and flowery bitters fight for your attention.

The feel is full and substantial. Nice and weighty in the mouth - letting you know it's there. The finish is dry and comforting.

Musings: This is not a "monstrously hopped" beer - at least the flavor spectrum doesn't turn that way. Let it warm slightly and you will be rewarded. Great tastes combos and feel will bring you home.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Came to the table a deep copper with a slight chilled haze a thinner but well retained white head.Nice intermingling of caramel malt and healthy dose of those cascades with the cascades holding a slight edge.Caramel malt hits up front with some doughy notes but the big pine and grapefruit character comes thru to dominate into a long finish.Very easy to drink and packed withat cascade goodness,I went picked up a couple of sixers after having this.

Photo of kennyo
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very good looking beer, burnt orange, like the Crayola reference, color with a nice white head that stays pretty much throughout the whole beer. A little belgian lace thing working.

Aroma is all about those spicy hops, very nice indeed

Taste is pretty much balanced even tho a little more malt might even it out a little bit better.

This is an enjoyable, hoppy red ale that you don't see to often.

Photo of Chadbrew
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a red ale alright. Mostly red with brownish hints and a solid looking body. As you can imagine based on the name there are a terrific amount of citrus hops in the nose. The taste is a nice surprise, balanced yet hoppy as hell. I like the fact that you can taste the hops here instead of just heavily bittered ale. The flavor and aroma tell me IBC is using a bunch of hops at the end of boil and/ or dry hopping, either way the effect is tasty. A decent body as I mentioned before. The drinkability is pretty good here.

Photo of MarineHokie
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Orangey with thick laced white head.

S - Sweet malt aromas, with a hint of sour cherry/orange fruitiness.

T - Initial hop bitterness softens, flavors morph to sweet/sour as the carmel malts compete with flavor hops - hints of fruit too. Dry, well balanced finish.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, solid mouthfeel.

D - Easy drinking & a nice change of pace. The hints of sweet/sour fruit made it unique to me.

Photo of charlesw
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful amber color. Medium just-barely-off-white head that is nice and dense. Very lasting lace.
Smells like a cascade hop explosion. Whoa. Light, floral, citrus. Whoa and whoa.
Tastes gently sweet, very very lightly bitter and, of course, like all kinds of citrus. Hey, and even through the hop explosion you get some idea of the caramel malts.
Very nice in the mouth. Medium body, just what you need in terms of carbonation.

- if you're from the right coast and you've spent your life drinking right-coast beers, well, yeah. Ok, I'm not even from the right coast but I hated this beer to begin with. It's about the cascades, man. Your typical Maine/New Hamster/MA brewery just doesn't use 'em. And why should they? Well, this beer does. And taking it after YEARS of not drinking a single beer with cascades in it, well, was very harsh. Even then I acknowledged how well it was made - I just couldn't appreciate the flavor. Well, let me tell you, now I can. And it's awfully good...

Photo of far333
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear orangey copper colored with a thick anf frothy while head that sits up high and sticks around for most of the experience. Sharp aroma of tangerine rind, some piney notes, but no malt. Flavor is hoppy upfront, tingly and crisp, mostly of tangy citrus peel and grapefruit, some pine. Some sweet malts arise in the finish, but struggle to bust through the stronger hop profile. a bitter citrus peel lingers. Even mouthfeel, but not too full. Pretty hoppy for a red ale, and I might go so far as to say a little out of balance for the style since the malt presence is very understated. A decent selection though, I'd have it again.

Photo of geexploitation
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great name for a beer. Pours a beautiful bronze with a thick, appetizing head. The nose contains that familiar Cascade grapefruit and some pine in a huge hop nose. There's also some nutty malt aromas underneath the hops. As would be expected, fruity hop notes dominant the taste of Cascazilla; the overall impression is of a slight sweetness at the front of the palate and a huge bitterness at the back. One nice twist this beer has is the caramel malt (being a red ale), which provides a nice undertone to the hops. This beer is medium bodied and very acidic. Not the most acidic beer I've had, but quite acidic nonetheless. This is the main drawback with this beer: its high acidity reduces the drinkability for me, and makes it unlikely that I'd want to order a bunch of these.

Photo of orfeu
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent bronze with thich ecru froth. Green Cascade blast to my nostrils -- astringent pineyness, not too citrusy. The aroma is almost chemical, kind of like new carpet. Grapefruit pith and pine needle flavor and that's about it. Any malt is completely MIA. Slight peach juice in the finish. Light to medium body, juicy, and quenching. None too complex, but I'd pick this up again if I really wanted hops and nothing else.

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

monstrously hoppy? NO
drinkable with fresh citrus hop magic? YES

dark amber, lively. creamy head is slow to dissipate. lacing produces little cascazillaville roadmaps on the glass. aroma a nice mix of burnt malts and florida orange-tinged fresh cascade hops. nice, light & crisp body pairs well with the bright, wet hops. certainly not monstrously hopped.. but spiked nice and green for a drinkable red ale. perfect session beer for lupulin-heads. bittering doesn't linger but presents itself assertively mid-swallow. this beer is even good ice cold. they hype this beer up too much, and you'll be disappointed looking for dreadnaught.

i will certainly revisit.. their double ipa is nice too- keep your eyes out.

Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy white head a top a crisp, deep copper color. Some thin lacing with good strength.

Floral hop aroma; lemon and piney hops. A light rustic-earthen aroma over a semi-sweet caramel maltiness.

Big, light lemon hop presence; very light tartness. An underlying mildly sweet caramel and biscuit malt backbone that is engulfed by a bright floral hop presence. A pine-infused moderate bitterness followed by an earthen-pine flavored aftertaste.

A light medium bodied; just a touch gritty, but otherwise pretty smooth.

The cascade intensity gives this one a nice pine and citrus flavor and a light body. A nice brew for an introduction to the Ithaca Beer Co.

Photo of UnionMade
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber, good clarity, topped with a thick cream colored head. Speckly lace, good head retention. Pungently hoppy aroma. Lots of citrus and pine, just pure american hops. Mild caramel malt background, pretty clean, a little bit of floral esters, allowing the hops all the spotlight. If you like big hop aroma, this is for you. Hops punch through immediately in the flavor. Moderate toasty caramel malt, smooth on the palate, slathered with bright green hop juice. Big citrus and pine, moving into a boldly bitter, agressive finish. Great hop flavor, a little floral, with pungent citrusy notes. Orange and grapefruit. A high level of carbonation, perhaps a little too much for my tastes. Something a little milder would serve to increase the drinkability. Still pretty nice, though, especially after sitting a while. Lingering hop flavor. Really great stuff for a session, when you're jonesing for some hops. Great balance, weighted heavily towards the hops, but not so much as to be too challenging or overpowering. Not super complex, mostly a cascade hop showcase, but I don't think a beer has to be really crazy to be good. This one's excellent, I'd say.

Photo of Hautacam
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into straight pint glass...nice light tan head, about 2 inches, settled to about 1/4 inch and that lasted for the entire glass.

Smell...well, pine- hoppy with some malt.

Taste .. good bitter hops, a hint of pinapple, but not sweet ...much milder, light taste than I had expected. One of the lighter IPAs that I've had.
Some detecable alcohol.

Mouthfeel ...also light and smooth, slighly dry. Medium carbonation.

Drinkable for sure...would go good with a buger or sausage. I actually drank it while eating roasted chestnuts and it paired pretty well with them.

I think that Dogfish Head IPAs ( 60 and 90....haven't had 120 yet)have spoiled me...personally can't imagine any IPA is going to top them.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours as a dark yet clear russet hue topped with a solid khaki head cap that eventually settles to a layer, revealing some drippy lacing.

Well, no misadventure with the nose here. This is true to its word with cascade orange citrus notes and a malty candy lolipop backing.

First swigs: Solid smooth Spree candy malt and hop big balance. Refreshing and citrus hoppy. Great balance of tangerine and bready malt. Wish that the hops went one step further.

Feel is medium and solid carbonation shush. Maybe this could benefit from being a bit more heavy in the body, but it works.

Last swigs: This is what it claims to be. Hoppy red. Thanks to fellow BA IthacaBaron for giving me the bottle. I must admit that I was excited to get this one.

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was handed to me with a light to medium head with a grassily hoppy nose. The color was a quintessentially fall-like orangish/light-brown and it was also very cloudy, hence Imbiber's reluctance to pour it without letting it settle. I did not find the cloudiness to be bad, so no worries, mate. It was a very hoppy beer, especially on the palate. The finish left me licking my lips and the roof of my mouth both for more of the flavor and to clear the residue. Yummy.

Photo of semihobo
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this stuff. I didn't review it when I was drinking it back in the winter, but I looked at beer I'd forgotten about over the summer and found two stashed away. It's the only seasonal so far that I've felt was inspiring and still affordable enough to make my everyday brew. Anyway, I'm reviewing a bottle of this; I think the high ABV and unusual character will probably make it cellarable, although it was at weird temperatures. Probably just at 6 months.

Pours a little oddly with a huge head that requires me to pour this out over the course of 5 minutes into a pint glass. Head like a rootbeer float, mostly a function of the odd aging. The bottle is the bomb! A big japanese dragon (dare I say Godzilla?) is blowing red hops out of a scary looking "CascaZilla" logo -- this claims to be a "monstrously hoppy red ale." Cascadilla is a gorge in town that you can hike in -- very nice looking brew. The brew retains head very nicely. Fiery red color challenges me.

Smell: piney, PINEY hops. There's some grapefruit, but that's the friendliest scent. Overwhelming pine resin. Very bold smell. Maybe some mint.

The taste is oh so piney. Hops creep in on the front and surf out on the back. Maybe could be chewing smoked grapefruit peels. No "red" taste at all, any malts or twists are overwhelmed. A great twist on a red / amber.

Overpowering carbonation causes the hops to tingle even more. Resinous aftertaste leaves me gasping for air. The smell floats out my nose. Normally I don't like high carbonation but this works great here. Hurts the drinkability though.

I would rate this beer very high for lifetime drinkability, and I am definitely going to drink many more in the future. However, the hops and mouthfeel are so powerful that I have trouble drinking them at a reasonable rate or having more than two in a row. I'm not much for hops and hop bombs, normally, but this beer really got me going. Don't expect a normal red; for an Amber, this is almost a practical joke on Killians drinkers. ABV is perfect, for this amount of hops I could see it higher.

Ithaca generally is very mediocre, and this is their masterpiece (besides small runs like the DIPA). I asked the woman at the brewery if more Cascazilla is made every year -- she said to watch the stores soon. Good news for me :) I feel that while the aging changed some characteristics of the beer, it is just as good as when it went in.

Photo of PatandDavid
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to fellow BA CharlesW for the bottle. Some excitement when pouring, ie, there was a bit of head, but it has since died down, and didn't even leave me with any lacing. I enjoy the aroma: malty, some grapefruitiness around the edges. The mouthfeel was a bit thick, I would still call it medium though. There's initial maltiness, followed by some low grapefruit citrusy ness. I enjoyed this one, am glad the abv wasn't overwhelming.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer sampled, no freshness dating, but it does have a Japanese horror film inspired label, a red hop spitting dragon and everything! Pours dark honey amber, creamy dark tan head, showing nice retention and also well dispersed, layered and fragmented lacing. Strong hoppy nose, burning the ole' nostrils with hop oil goodness. This is a pleasantly malty ale, hops quite present but not over powering. Notes of whole wheat, rye and, flowery, grainy, piney hops. Large and flavorful brew. Sort of reminds me of Arrogant Bastard. Sweet, creamy MF. Malty/hoppy/tasty. Seek this one out and enjoy-well done Ithaca

Photo of Bierman9
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear, with a deep mahogany hue. Carbonation within was rather intermittent, and head was a creamy beige layer of about 1/4". Lacing was average. Aroma was solid, with easily evident cascades on top of some toasty malt. Body was just about medium, though the feel on the tongue was a bit prickly and rough. Taste had decent malt, crisp, crystal-like and slightly sweet, though I was somehow expecting more. Lots of hops, too, though not a monster as the label suggests. Citrussy, but not outrageously... Fairly quaffable, but not a keeper.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 3.7
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rustic orange with infusions of red and amber. Within in the beer can be seen abundant, fine-bubbled carbonation rushing up to a golden ecru head of firm foam. The upper surface resembles Godzilla's hide--athough a bit less crusty--and an acceptable amount of lace is deposited in sudsy shards.

I'll admit, I'm easy. I love the smell of napalm in the... no wait, that was from Apocalypse Now. I love the smell of hops in the morning (and the afternoon and the evening). Cascazilla has a wonderously hoppy nose of sweet, sassy, brassy, caramel-like, citrusy goodness. I... am... powerless... to... resist...

Amazingly enough, the beer actually tastes like a hoppy-as-hell red ale rather than an IPA. I'm not sure what accounts for that impression, I'll just have to trust my palate. The caramel malt backbone is solid and is more than big enough to support all the fruity, juicy hops.

Cascazilla is more hoppy, relative to the malt at least, than any red ale in recent memory (with the possible exception of Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale). Sticky pine sap works in concert with white grapefruit peel, the whole drenched in sugar syrup. It lacks a certain something that would put it into orbit flavor-wise, but I'm more than satisfied by what's in this bottle.

The medium body/mouthfeel has a pleasing, smooth slickness about it and is helped by a light hop scum that adheres to the tongue and builds with each successive sip. A big thanks to HappyHourHero for the bottle.

According to the label, I just finished a "monstrously hoppy red ale". I've had very few of Ithaca's beers, but it's hard for me to imagine that any of them are better than this. It is my considered opinion that the amber/red ale style needs a swift kick in the ass. Who better to provide it than the city-destroying, hop monster... Cascazilla.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to HappyHourHero for this one of many.
Pours a clear rust brown w/ a half a finger of fluffy, bubbly white head...looks real white for a it those NY hops?
Lacing is thin, but real tight...slides back down very rapidly w/ just a thin layer clinging on.
Smell is carmelized malts w/ fruity hops as well...also detect oranges and even a hint of allspice.
Taste is, as expected...hoppy. I was hoping for this when I noticed the neon red hop flower on the label. There is nothing overpowering as far as hops go, but this is one of the most bitter red ales I have had to date. The malt keeps this fine offering balanced, that's for sure.
Mouthfeel is thin and the aftertaste is very bitterness lingering...very fresh.
Definitely a session brew...I was glad to see the ABV% pushing to 6.5...very hidden.
Ithaca does it if they can only work their distribution into my area.

Photo of wailingwench
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eye Candy: Transparent garnett red. Minimal rising carbonation. Thick, pillowy off-white 2 finger head. Tons of hop clumping. Superb lacing and retention.

The Nose Knows: Deep, rich malts, hint of caramel, slight citrus hop, major pine aromas.

Tongueland: Roasted, rich malts, caramel, brown sugar up front, touch of bread-like yeast in the middle, slight pepper, airy alcohol, grapefruit-like hop that is rudely interrupted by an in your face resinous and floral hop finish.

Bender: Another solid brew from Ithaca. Top of their line. Serious competition to Landmark IRA. Glad to see Ithaca going out on a limb and being adventerous.

CascaZilla from Ithaca Beer Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,172 ratings.