So Cloudwater, New Zealand hops? What’s the big deal?! Why does it matter!?
Cloudwater, the guys over in Manchester founded in 2014 have made hundreds of beers, in styles old and new, classical and imagined. They have evolved their brewing skills, honing their sensory evaluation techniques, trialled fermentation and process changes in pursuit of ever higher quality beer.
Co-founder Paul Jones recently took a trip to New Zealand in search of higher quality hops, something defining and rare. What they found whilst out there were hops such as Southern Cross & NZ cascade which helped create their DIPA ‘A Fire By The Bines’. One of the softest, silkiest DIPAs I’ve had the pleasure of tasting, it combines punchy floral notes and pine with a smooth underbelly of creamy papaya and honeydew melon.
Motueka was next, giving off tonnes of zesty lime. Clear in ‘Five Good Lots’ a seriously bright and juicy IPA. Flavour is loaded with sweet honeydew melon and lychee, accentuating the smooth, silky and almost creamy body. Lingering in the background, there's also a light floral note somewhat akin to Parma Violet sweets, providing even more depth of flavour.
Cloudwater were also so lucky to acquire a single, small lot of Riwaka. They decided to throw it all into one beer. This legendary hop is highly sought-after yet incredibly hard to get hold of. Like many of its New Zealand counterparts, Riwaka is an unbelievably bold and distinctive varietal, but Cloudwater were taken aback by just how bright and fresh this lot presented itself. ‘The Windows Were Golden’ a 4.4% pale, packed with flavour kicking off with powerful resinous notes and grapefruit zest, but leading into incredibly moreish flavours of passion fruit and tangy rhubarb. That juicy passion fruit sticks around right through to the finish, were it's joined by once more by notes of resin and light grape must.
Rakau and Waimea were also brought back to Manchester, affirming, yet also relaxing. This helped create ‘A Wave In The Marlborough Sounds’ a silky DDH Pale with light herbal notes, ripe apricot and lemon meringue. A lingering resinous note accompanied by a peppery bitterness.
The only independent UK brewery to have been involved in hop selection in both Yakima and New Zealand, a process which has been a huge step in refining their beers, dialling in the aromas and flavours they aim for.