Advent begins in just over a week now, which means it isn’t long until you can taste our Advent Calendar collab beers. We’re delighted to have Boundary, Howling Hops, Cloudwater & Signature Brew all creating exclusive brews, and can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of them!
We’ve caught up with the brewers to hear all about these brilliant new beers, as well as find out a bit more about the people behind the brews. This week, we chatted to Connor from Cloudwater and heard all about what to expect from the forthcoming seasonal special!
Cloudwater are a familiar name to most craft beer fans, but for those who don’t know, how did you guys first get started?
We were founded in 2014 and brewed our first beers on February 14th, 2015 at our Manchester brewery, setting out to distinguish ourselves from the majority of breweries by putting seasonality at the core of everything we did. This meant taking the decision not to have a core range, instead creating an ongoing series of one-off beers that were inspired by our community and the change of lifestyle and ingredients each season brings. Not only was the beer continuously evolving and changing, so too was our branding, with different artists brought in each season to showcase their work through our labels.
These principles still hold true, although we have recently introduced a ‘signature’ range of beers that we aim to make available all-year-round, including our Hoppy Little Lager, Pale Ale, IPA and DIPA among others. This was a move made on the back of feedback from customers, who found themselves disappointed when they deeply enjoyed one of our beers that they weren’t able to buy ever again. We’re still reticent to refer to these beers as a ‘core range’ because they don’t stand still and instead develop and evolve in line with advancements in process and ingredients, as well as changes in taste.
So, although you might know us best for big, juicy and hop-heavy beers, probably thanks in no small part to our ‘V’ series of Double IPAs, we’re equally committed to putting our own take on classic styles, and paying respect to heritage recipes and the beers that inspired us on our beer journey. At the heart of everything we do is a commitment to creating bold, precise flavours with bottomless drinkability and focused consistency, one beer to the next.
I think “bottomless drinkability” is a perfect description! You mentioned holding some core principles around the beer, but we understand that this goes a bit further than just the brews?
We are independently-owned and directed by co-founder Paul Jones, and committed to running an ethically conscious, human-centred business, with values that they hope will be the standard throughout the industry.
Our strong belief in independence was one of the driving forces behind the decision to establish our own, not-for-profit festival, Friends & Family & Beer. Rather than just another beer festival, it’s intended to be a celebration of independent values and, as such, only features breweries we have collaborated with, or otherwise have built strong friendships with.
This year’s edition will feature an incredibly strong line-up of breweries from around the world, including the likes of Trillium, The Veil, Other Half, Odell, Verdant and Omnipollo, offering a huge beer selection with an unrivalled combination of freshness and variety. For the first time, this year’s festival will also include a full trade session, with a focus on education and empowerment, bringing together top-class speakers from across the industry for an event that we hope will foster community spirit and bring value to those attending.
All of the festival’s profits are donated directly to charities working within the Manchester area – in its first year, the festival raised £20,000 for Mustard Tree, Coffee4Craig and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.
We can’t wait for the next festival and we’re also very much looking forward to releasing our collab beer, what can our Advent customers expect?
Within the brewery, we love our Hoppy Little Lager, as its a beer that combines elements of precision lager brewing with the British tradition of hoppy session beers to reach a neat balance between bright flavour and easy drinkability. It’s an ideal gateway beer and one we enjoy unwinding with after a day at work.
In looking for a seasonal twist on this recipe, we decided Christmas spices might be a little bit, shall we say, unorthodox. So rather than celebrating the British winter, we decided to hail the arrival of summer Down Under by using NZ Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops, hand-selected in New Zealand.
The light base acts as a perfect platform for the New Zealand hops to shine, revealing the full scope of their flavour potential. Zesty citrus flavours intertwine with grape and tropical fruit, alongside punchy, resinous hop notes.
I, for one, have already had a few tastes of the beer and think our customers are going to love it. What other Cloudwater beers are you particularly excited about at the moment?
We’re delighted with the progress shown in the recent batch of our signature IPA. Recently, we installed a reverse osmosis system at the brewery and this beer in particular, has benefitted hugely from the ability to build our water profile from the ground up. It’s softer, smoother and brighter than ever before.
Reverse osmosis allows us to strip all of the impurities, minerals and unwanted compounds from the water we use, providing a stable, neutral base for us to work from each time. This means our own water treatment can be designed from the ground up, rather than being at the mercy of what we get from the tap, which can change regularly.
Now we can design our salt additions to dial in exactly what we want from our water for every beer we brew and achieve greater precision in body, aroma and flavour.
But also keep an eye out for our annual limited-release Barrel Programme Bottle Set, which will be out just in time for Christmas, showcasing 10 new and exciting beers from our barrels.
Random Act of Mindfulness is an exclusive collaboration beer between HonestBrew & Cloudwater Brew Co and is available in our Advent Calendar along with 3 other limited edition collaborations. Check out more beers from Cloudwater here.