I got lucky last year. I tend to miss exciting beer releases due to a double whammy of being a bit out in the sticks and having two young kids. However, I happened to be in London on the release day of last year’s Cloudwater DIPA, so figured it’d be rude not to give it a try.
And what a beer it was. A riot of tropical fruit with a solid malty, boozy backbone. Pretty much a perfect double IPA. I made it one of my Golden Pints last year, and when I heard about version 2, I knew it’d be difficult to improve on perfection.
I picked up a bottle earlier this week, and, as is the case with stronger beers, cracked it open at home (rather than the train, as is my usual custom with review beers). I Was Not Disappointed.
The nose is, as with the last DIPA, like a bunfight at an Um Bungo factory. Lychee, mango and passionfruit all vie for your attention, screaming at you to ‘drink me already!’.
The first sip takes you further into Um Bungo territory, with a touch of soft peach and subtle pineyness for good measure. There’s a soft bitterness to follow, and a gentle malt backbone, which stands in contrast to many DIPAs, which tend to balance any bitterness with sticky crystal malts. Here, as with last year’s DIPA, Cloudwater rely solely on the king of English malts, Maris Otter, to carry the hop flavour, and it works beautifully.
Overall, this is a dangerously drinkable beer, and it’s probably just as well this is a limited release, because it’d probably be my go-to beer. An early frontrunner for my beer of the year.