Drink Magazine

Tasting Notes: Cloudwater: Are We Unique?

By Alcoholandaphorisms

Tasting Notes:  Cloudwater: Are We Unique?

Cloudwater: Are We Unique? (England: IIPA: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy, dark yellowed to apricot body. An inch of bubbled white head and lots of small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Vanilla. Custard. Crisp hops. Tangerine. Lemon sherbet. Banana custard. Guava.

Body: Juicy. Guava. Dry underneath. Kiwi. Grapes. Peach and peach syrup. Slight cucumber. Banana.

Finish: Grapes. Moderate bitterness. Slight gritty bitterness. Mandarin orange. Good hop character. Slight cucumber. Slight sulfur. Lettuce leaves. Resinous.

Conclusion: Ok, yeah, I can see what they mean now. As mentioned in the background this was described as a mix up of west cost and hazy style IPA, which seemed a contradictory mix – but I get it now. Mostly.

Up front this is pretty juicy and feels thick (well, I say “feels” – I will get to that in a moment). Lots of juicy, fruity notes. It was described as hazy IPA style, but in all honesty it feels more like the sweet juiciness of an East Coast IPA, just with a lot less malt backing, if that makes any kind of sense. Lots of grapes, peach and some bright mandarin orange notes.

So, back to that comment, I said that it “feels thick”, that’s because despite that feel, it quickly falls into a drier west coast out of the way body, making me feel that it is not that the body is thick, but that the flavours give an illusion of extra thickness. Up front there are hints of vanilla and custard which just never come to the front and bring the body they promise.

There is good, if fairly moderate, bitterness and hop character that comes along with that drier body – the balance between a juicy fruit front and drier bitter back is enjoyable, but not without issues of its own.

Where the two sides meet there is a kind of greenery, water cucumber, savoury kind of note. It is not terrible, but not the best way to make a stepping stone between the two sides. It is a kind of neutral to slightly bad note in itself, stuck between two much better sides.

Still, in general a very enjoyable IIPA that wears a lot of influences on its sleeve. In fact it feels more an IPA that an IIPA in general, probably due to the more out of the way malt, but maybe does use the abv to push a bit more of the fruitiness.

Fun flavours, not perfect but bloody enjoyable and a heck of an experience on the way.

Background: So, Cloudwater are known for their hop forwards beers. Tend to be pretty good, if not quite up to their insanely high reputation. This caught my eyes, promising to mix west coast IPA dryness, with hazy (so I’m guessing NEIPA) IPA style juiciness, but in an Double IPA. Ok, sounds fun. Hope they can pull it off. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Had just picked up Le Tigre’s self titled album after being introduced to them via Jessica Jones. Thought they sounded familiar so wasn’t surprised when I found out they had the same lead singer as Bikini Kill. More pop and catchy than Bikini Kill but with non of the vitriol lost.

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