I named two Cloudwater beers in my surprisingly early best beers of 2016, back in January. I only heard about the brewery in August or September last year when the Two Beer Geeks and Rich were discussing the hype that surrounded Cloudwater. Hype I knew none - but I understand there was plenty. That week I tried a Cloudwater pale ale at the Shakespeares. It was about 4.2% and quite nice tasting. I wasn't sure if the hype was justified - but I soon became aware of their incredible quality strong beers.
The Bath Hotel had a number of their special IPAs, almost all at 7.4%, on keg and cask from October to December. On the 21st December I had a stonking gret pile of em. Hugely hoppy, well balanced and seasonal IPAs to tempt the taste buds. The same appeared at Shakespeares as well. I heard suggestions that the lower gravity beers were watery, but until recently I only tried one, and it was fine. More recently, the Juniper Table Beer at the Beer Engine at 4.3% was a masterclass in blending hops and other flavours. It was a perfect start to a wonderful night.
A few weeks ago I attended "an gig" at the Queens Social Club. Assuming, correctly, that there would be little I wanted to sup, I prepared for the visit in the Three Tuns, where I had four and a half pints of wonderful 5.7% Dark Star Revelation. In an hour. This highly enjoyable and equally impractical start to the evening more than made up for the bottle of Newky Brown and half a bottle of sweetish white wine I supped at the gig. Afterwards, Lee and Katie drove is to Shakespeares.
There, with pride of place (amongst four others) was the Cloudwater DIPA2 on keg. It was £5.10 a pint, I think, and tasted bloody lovely. It was late, granted, but I still had at least two pints, at 9.6%, as did Tash, of this marvelous hoppy ale.
Earlier that week I had posted a question on Twitter asking if anyone was selling bottles of the DIPA2. Am not suggesting that Josh read that, am just letting you know that the first thing he said to me upon my arrival days later, was that there were bottles of the DIPA2 available. I bought one for me and one for Tash and Matty bought many. It was striking how different the colour was - a dark orange as opposed to the pale yellow of DIPA 1 and a different taste, more rounded and maltier, yet retaining that gorgeous hit of hops, blended to perfection.
Alas the stock of bottles quickly ran out and so in fact, I didn't buy any more DIPA tp take home, but the day after the gig I bumped into my friend Mr Grant. I asked him if he wanted a pint, and he did, so I suggested we went to Shakespeares. Not only was it a delight to catch up, but I had about four more pints of the DIPA.
I realise that this post may, rather than avouch the values and qualities of Cloudwater DIPA, suggest that I am a sot. Obviously, that is not the case (clears throat), but it does demonstrate, I hope, that I love tasting Cloudwater beers of all strengths, and that the DIPA versions one and two, are far away the best beers I have tried thus far this year.