It’s expected to be cloudy in Brooklyn this weekend, but with a chance of IPAs rather than meatballs: Cloudwater Brew Co., a rapidly ascending brewery in Manchester, England, is coming to the borough for the first time for special events on Friday and Saturday.
Not to be confused with the clouds of brew that formed over Prospect Park a couple weeks ago, Cloudwater was anointed the best brewery in England at this year’s RateBeer Best, an annual awards ceremony and beer festival organized by RateBeer.com. In fact, the site’s users had rated Cloudwater’s offerings so highly over the previous year that their summary score (based on 10 different weighted scales that place an emphasis on reviews of the past year and top-performing beers as well as historical all-around performance, a brewer’s range of performance across styles and other factors) resulted in the now-two-year-old brewery also being deemed fifth best in the world, not to mention being the only UK entry to ever be among the list’s top 10.
Opened in 2015, Cloudwater brews a diverse portfolio of styles. Like many other brewers during the Haze Craze of recent years, though, it has risen to prominence in part due to an increased focus on producing and canning cloudy, juicy IPAs.
Among the breweries leading the industry’s canned-IPA charge is Carroll Gardens’ Other Half Brewing, which also placed among RateBeer’s 10 best breweries in the world. And its next weekly can sale represents one of two opportunities where you can drink Cloudwater in Brooklyn for the first time: The two breweries teamed to make a lactose-dosed double IPA called Imaginary Greenscapes, using “a huge amount of oats, spelt and a small amount of lactose sugar to give it a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and then hopped to death with Citra, Nelson, Cashmere and Calypso.”
Imaginary Greenscapes, like all Other Half hop-driven pales (and seemingly every IPA across the country and around the world today) will be packaged in 16-ounce cans and sold almost exclusively on-premises. This exclusivity, along with the brewery’s astonishing ability to release a new special-edition ale virtually every weekend, continues to be a massive draw. Many queue up outside well in advance of an opening and in some cases use professional line-waiters or placeholders to procure these sought-after suds before it’s too late. (The New York Times recently explored this phenomenon.)
Now, for those who can’t wait or don’t want to risk missing this new limited-release IPA on Saturday, you also have the chance to drench yourself in Cloudwater’s highly regarded beers the evening prior: The brewery will showcase its seasonally driven double IPAs, fruited sours and other works on tap at Tørst, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø’s inimitable bar in Greenpoint that celebrated its fourth anniversary last weekend.
There are five Cloudwater brews being flown in specifically for the event, all to flow from Tørst’s high-tech draft system called the “Flux Capacitor.” And in case you want to geek out with one of the brewery’s founders, Paul Jones will be in attendance.
“On top of being a really nice guy, Paul is just as passionate as we are about beer, and making certain that the beer is handled correctly, served properly and consumed at its peak flavor,” says Mike Amidei, Tørst’s beverage director. We talked to him yesterday and he also shared details about five beers that will be at tomorrow’s event:
Seville Orange Sour (3.5% ABV)
“It’s a light and tart sour beer infused with Seville oranges to give a bright citrusy flavor. Great for the warmer weather we’ve had this week.”
DIPA v13 (9.0%)
“This is the latest in their Double IPA series. It has a fair amount of oats in the grist to give it a great mouthfeel. It’s also fermented with a mix of Vermont ale yeast and JW Lees yeast, and dry-hopped to the bejesus with Citra and Mosaic.”
Ardbeg BA Imperial Stout (11.5%)
“This an ‘American-style’ Russian imperial stout that was aged in Ardbeg barrels for a year, then blended with a fresh batch of imperial stout. Expect a big, rich stout with notes of peat smoke and whiskey.”
Bergamot Hopfen Weisse (6.0%)
“This a modern take on the traditional German Hefeweizen style with Bergamot lemons added to both the kettle and fermenter. Expect a refreshing yeast-driven hoppy wheat beer with the tang of bergamot.”
Spring + Summer IPA Mosaic Exp 431 (6.5%)
“An IPA hopped with Mosaic, E431 and Vic’s Secret, and fermented with Vermont ale yeast. Bright and juicy hop flavors.”