Cloudwater Night, Needle & Pin, Loughborough, September 2017

Another themed night at the Needle & Pin. I got my name on the guest list for this one as soon as it was announced. Because Cloudwater.

My friendly Untappd list tells me that I’ve had 44 of their beers. In August 2016, DIPA v3 (a bit too old by then) got awarded beer of the month, and they’ve been clearing up in this year’s monthly round ups too.

They are making great beer, lovely hoppy beasts and the occasional darker beer such as the Christmas Cake imperial stout (with ToØl of Denmark) and a delicious Autumn + Winter Fazenda Ouro Verde Porter.

At the heart of Cloudwater Brew Co is a deep love for the changing seasons, each bringing with it an invitation to enjoy the scarcity and abundance the natural world offers. Cloudwater want to showcase the ebb and flow of nature by using seasonal ingredients at their very best, and taking inspiration from the change of lifestyle each season creates.

So we start tonight with a non-Cloudwater beer, as we had time for a swift half before proceedings began. Mount Hood by Great Heck Brewing Co was a gentle golden ale to kick things off.

On to the main event, four tasty cans of Cloudwater beer. A nice relaxed format to the evening, a card with four beers on it, take it to the bar to collect your next can and tick each one off. There was a suggested order which we followed.

First up, Spring + Summer Pale Ale Huell Melon. For a new twist on their lower strength hoppy beer, Cloudwater fermented this pale ale with a combination of Belgian yeasts. Hallertau Blanc, Amarillo, and Citra were added to the whirlpool, and it was dry hopped with Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc in the FV.

A tasty treat to start, a little bit of fruit and pepperiness, very easy drinking. You’ll also spot my latest glassware (all included in the price), a very nice looking new Cloudwater glass.

On to a familiar face next. I had a can of this DDH IPA Citra back in July, one of my offerings for the home made Hooky beer fest.

DDH stands for “double dry hopped”. Cloudwater has doubled the amount of hops in this IPA to bring you the brewery’s first DDH IPA. Fermented with WLP4000 yeast and dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo, Chinook and Centennial (big name American hops). WLP4000 yeast was isolated from a uniquely crafted double IPA from the the USA and produces a balanced fruity ester profile of peaches and light citrus that complements any aggressively hopped beer.

Dry hopping is the process of adding hops to a beer to add more of a hop aroma. Traditionally, dry hopping is done in beer styles like pale ales and IPAs, but brewers are utilising this process in many other styles as well. Since you are not boiling the hops, you won’t be extracting any of the oils from them, and therefore will not be contributing to the beer’s bitterness. What you will be adding are hop flavour and aroma. If you are a big hop fan, dry hopping is a must.

A hoppy juice bomb that goes really well with a spicy dhansak. I didn’t have any of that tonight though.

A collaboration brew next, ™ Life, an East Coast meets North West IPA collaboration celebrates some of their favourite ™ hops – Amarillo, Mosaic and Chinook, and of course the guys from Other Half NYC who they brewed it with.

Yeast: A38, JW Lees
Aroma hops: Amarillo, Mosaic, Chinook
Malts: Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, Oat Malt.

This was full of oily grassiness with big bitterness and a bit of a lavender kick to it.

A quadruple collaboration to finish the night off. Awkward Phase was brewed with old friends of Cloudwater in the shape of Northern Monk, and their new friends Verdant and Deya. This IPA features more of that Chinook hop, and a prominent, aromatic, and complex maltiness from a touch of Munich and Château Arome malts in the grist. A power outage shut things down in mid brew, but rapid service and repair saved the day and got the brewery back up and running in time to finish brewing.

A solid beer, the Château Arome shines through, with the hops turning up to the party a little later on.

On reflection, we would have put the DDH IPA Citra after the ™ Life, but overall it was another great night of beers at the N&P. I’ve said this before, but these are the kinds of events that are happening in London bars and pubs all the time, so it’s nice to see them in our sleepy East Midlands market town.

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