This morning’s aperitif comes from that new(ish) kid on the Manchester craft beer block: Cloudwater. Since their official launch in March they’ve been taking not only the local scene by storm, but causing a few national ripples as well. Now there’s a lot you could talk about with Cloudwater; their seasonal approach to beer or their label design, for example. But what has struck me is the quality of their product. I’ve tried more or less all of their output, through various styles that I’m more or less keen on, but the quality has been top-notch throughout. Something which I wish I could say about some other so-called ‘craft’ brewers.
This is a 330ml bottle and comes in at 7.2%. Handily there’s lot of info on the back:
Malt: Best Ale, Clear Choice, Wheat Malt, Caramalt, Dark Crystal
Hops: Green Bullet, Perle, Citra, Summit, Galaxy, Centennial
It poured a solid orange-some might say proper IPA colour-with about half a finger’s worth of off-white foam. It’s slightly hazy but there’s no London Murky funny business here. The aroma was pungent and, to my schnozzle at least, very pleasant. There’s lot of fresh pine, melon, grapefruit and pineapple balanced out by a sweet fruit/sherbet underlay.
Unsurprisingly after that introduction, the taste didn’t disappoint. Basically it’s more of the same but with a little twist or two. Quite firm bodied, the malt backbone does an outstanding job of underpinning the bold flavours without dominating the profile. This does not drink like a 7.2% at all. Plenty of bold pine and citrus notes with mango and mandarin orange/marmalade there in the mix as well. It’s all about the hops shining through rather than being an out and out bitter fest, but the sticky grapefruit bitter finish really does reset the taste buds and demands another gulp.
Tyson says: A superbly crafted IPA that could well prove to be the benchmark for the British take on this style.