This is a very exciting beer to have in the shop because I helped brew it! Cloudwater have just released lots of the collaborations they did with the US breweries that came over for their F&F&B Festival in March, including Notch Brewing from Salem, Massachusetts. What's extra special about A New Chapter though is that it was brewed also in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society, supporting women in the beer industry.
We thought it would be fun to run you through the day with some very exciting behind-the-scenes pictures, but if you just want to know what the beer's like, scroll to the end!
Cloudwater held their Pink Boots Brew Day on Monday 4th March where they invited women from the beer industry to join them to brew an IPL using the special Pink Boots Brew hop blend from Yakima Chief (Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro and Glacier). The day was organised by Cloudwater community engagement superstar Doreen (of #LetsBeerPositive fame amongst other things) with the aim of establishing a UK chapter of Pink Boots Brew, hence the name of the beer. A portion of the profits from the beer will go towards helping to set this up - a brilliant cause!*
After getting up obscenely early to get the train to Manchester, I was greeted at the Cloudwater taproom by the incredible Doreen, fresh from an entire weekend of Friends & Family & Beer, and some very welcome coffee and juice (of the orange variety). Suitably revived, we went round the room to introduce ourselves. There were about 25 women from all aspects of the brewing industry, from brewers to brewery office managers via hop suppliers and freelance marketers, and even a beer retailer (that's me!).
After this, we were taken on a tour of the brewery by Claudia from Cloudwater, who showed us exciting gadgetry like their new hop gun, super dinky whirlpooler, and of course lots and lots of malt!
After a break for lunch (this was all very hard work), we started on the beer, putting 35 bags of malt in the mill, with only one getting stuck, ready for brewing! After this solid effort, we went back up to the taproom for some very delicious beers leftover from the festival, and recorded a podcast with Brienne from Notch Brewing, who is also the chapter lead for Pink Boots Brew in Salem, MA, the largest chapter in the US. Look out for this on the Cloudwater website (it's not up yet) - it was such an interesting discussion. After some more beers at the Cloudwater taproom, we split up for further beers around Manchester, and I ended a brilliant day of brewing and networking (you decide which I did more of) with a little train nap.
Cut to 4 weeks later... and we have the final product! This is a really great beer, and I don't just feel duty-bound to say that. It is one of the first India Pale Lagers (a cross between an IPA and a lager) I've tried that really does have IPA characteristics. I find all too often that people have just made a hoppy, bitter lager, but this has lovely peachy, citrussy flavours with a touch of maltiness but ending with a classic clean lager finish.
*Seriously committing to the IWD cause, Cloudwater also did another brew day on Friday 8th March (actual International Women's Day) when they brewed juicy pale ale A City of Stirring Episodes with women from the beer community in the north west, in aid of the Pankhurst Trust!