despite my recent inescapable slide into debt and trashed credit ratings, I got there only recently - as in, I arrived there, finally, after many years of effort. During more recent times, and since, mainly through the generosity of my friends, I have tried numerous beers from Cloudwater. The Manchester brewery may have a reputation solely for producing DIPA's. However, and whatever its repute, many people want to know what Cloudwater are all about. The thing is, I don't know.
I do however know what I have thought, tasted, enjoyed and observed of them.
I first heard about Cloudwater in 2015. Two brewers and two beer bloggers were discussing what they thought of a heavily hyped new brewery in Manchester. As I sat dewy eared in the Beer Engine beer garden, I was puzzled how a brewery could be so heavily hyped, and yet I hadn't heard a thing about them? Well, luckily, there was a Cloudwater beer on at Shakespeares the next day. It was low strength and fairly tasty. It didn't explain the hype or lack of though. It didn't really add up. And then, Cloudwater IPA's at 7 or 7.5%, started turning up in the Bath Hotel.
Many sessions during late 2015 were spent in the Bath Hotel sampling wonderful easy drinking Cloudwater IPA. Some of them were the best beers I had in 2015 and when I found one on cask at Shakespeares on New Years Eve I was very very pleased. More so, when I heard about their DIPA 1 celebration strong pale. I didn't get to try this on draught, but did very luckily get to buy the last bottle from the Walkley Beer Co. It was fab. Hoppy. Bitter. Backed with good malt that supported the hops without fighting against them. It had a slight "Manchester sweetness" to it and it was 9% and drank like Vimto.
For those not in the know, DIPA V 10 has recently been released. It lasted a day at Shakespeares, despite being sold at £7.50 a pint (which is actually a good price for the V10). It still doesn't drink like a 9% IPA and I note from the bottle labels that at least, up until V9, they added dextrose extract or similar, to the malt. This may of course feature in all beers but I wondered if that was what gave the Cloudwater DIPA that simultaneous new world hoppiness tinged with Manchester sweetness? Or is that simply the yeast they use? (they used Lees yeast in one brew, maybe 7...).
Either way, and no matter how "DIPA'd out" some of us may be, the recent announcement of more regular releases shows a commitment to bettering a single product. My only worry is, how will they do that?
Reading the back of a Cloudwater bottle is a little like looking at notes from a science class. Am interested, but not as much as I am in whether or not the beer tastes good. And so far, none have tasted bad. All have tasted good (even 3) and some have tasted fantastic. The interesting developments will come if and when they make more changes to their DIPA brews. Maybe change the template of the brew...
The one thing that jumped out of their recent blog about DIPA's is the idea that the beer keeps its hoppiness by not being exposed to temperatures above 5c from bottling to receipt. Their post claims that definitive flavours in beer are killed off by exposure to heat. It is something I have heard about before but am not aware of a brewery previously adapting this cold storage and cold distribution plan.
I have one bottle of unopened Cloudwater DIPA left - its number 8 (haven't got a ten yet). I intend to drink it on Christmas day.
Because no matter what they or others say, Cloudwater brew a bloody delicious DIPA.