Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis
It’s been 15 months since I first visited Manchester’s Cloudwater Brewery and 12 since the subsequent article was published on Good Beer Hunting. While on a short visit to Manchester a couple of weeks ago I headed over to the brewery to see how they were progressing.
On my first visit I described the tranquil, open and spacious warehouse that Cloudwater calls home as feeling like “part brewery, part Buddhist temple.” That once empty space is now filled to the roof with stainless steel - increasing the breweries capacity threefold. This expanded capacity also comes in the form three large oak foudres, one inoculated with Jester King’s house Brett strain during a recent collaboration and plenty more wood full of maturing beer.
In the midst of this is Cloudwater’s latest toy: a canning line that has just been commissioned. The brewery is moving its smallpack production entirely over to 440ml cans. Over the past 12 months Cloudwater’s hop forward beers have evolved to match the hazy, juicy and low-bitterness “New England” style IPAs that have fast become the beer du jour for many beer lovers in the United States.
Now Cloudwater will have the packaging to match and keep pace with this trend, proving that modern British brewers are still chasing the coat tails of US craft. I hope and pray that, unlike in the US, the people of Manchester don’t have to stand in line for several hours in order to buy them.