CascaZilla | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
585 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by shippos on 07-14-2004

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Reviews: 585 | Ratings: 1,225
Photo of Chadbrew
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of MarineHokie
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of charlesw
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
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...

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Photo of far333
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of orfeu
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of Hautacam
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of semihobo
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.82/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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

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Photo of Bierman9
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of wailingwench
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of shippos
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured witha a clear red amber witha fluffy light tan head that gradually settled to a skim. dry hoppy aroma, flowery and herbal. very citrusy witha grapefruit like acidity, very odd rhubarb like sourness kinda tart - not exactly desireable on my nose. nice slightly thick mouthfeel followed by a immediate dry hoppy taste. smooth body and a highly drinkable. good but the draft is so much better.

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Photo of oggg
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ppoitras

This brew pours a light red with a nice white head. Hop aroma which is so hyped up by the beer's name is disappointingly restrained. Hop flavor on the tongue is strong grapefruit. Hop bitterness is also strong and biting. Malt backbone is caramel mostly. Not that smooth. Medium to full. Finish is dry.

Overall: A good amber ale -- the name really psyched me up to get an aromatic IPA though, and so I was a bit let down.

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Photo of Onceeven
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was turned off by this beer for a good month or more due to the awful label, but finally gave in and ordered a pint. I was still cringing as they brought me the 20 oz pint completely devoid of anything resembling a head, but alas.. the beer was a beautiful shade of red.
While not "monstrously hoppy" or whatever the label suggests, this is one hopped up and refreshing beer. From what I've read this one is brewed with Cascade hops, and having cut my teeth on these western flowers, this beer kinda tastes like home. Very crisp, very hoppy, yet light. Something to drink on a hot summers day, if they're still making this fine brew by then.

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Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a mildly malty scent with a boat load of Cascade hops, which were grown in NY. It is quite bitter and floral. The taste is good. It is refreshingly bitter and hoppy all the way through. The malts add a nice buffer and balance. It goes down easy and finishes smooth. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great American red ale. I love the hops and the balance. This is a great offering from Ithaca; a good drinker.

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice crystal clear, ruby red body, moderate light tan head. Not much head retention. Lots of citrusy and flowery hop aroma. As the beer warmed, I could smell more of the sweeter malt. For all the hop aroma, the beer isn't nearly as bitter as I expected. It's much less hoppy than an IPA, and the bitterness doesn't stay around long in the mouth. It's actually pretty sweet tasting. There is a definite hop presence, just not as much as I expected from the bottle. For me, this isn't a bad thing, though, it's quite a drinkable and great tasting brew.

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Photo of bultrey
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, we have an East coast IPA here that drinks like a West coast IPA. OK, so it's not quite as hoppy as some of those hophead wet dreams, but it's damn fine. In fact, this thing almost drinks more like a "double" IPA, and looking back at the alcohol percentage, I see that it's close.
This is just a good all-around classic IPA, with a great herbal/citrus/pine aroma, and more of the same tickling your tastebuds. There is also that more east coast typical herbaceous hop thing going on, with hints of cannibus, but this is not as prominent.
There is also a nice sweet backbone, which coaxes a sweet orange flavor from the hops, and lends some caramel and toffee flavors. The mouthfeel is very rich, and does feel like a double IPA. Drinkability is high, would be an excellent session IPA. Good job Dan and crew...

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CascaZilla from Ithaca Beer Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,225 ratings.
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