That's how long it's been since I've updated the blog. Due to some technical difficulties (I broke my laptop) I've been sat reading twitter from the comfort of an iPhone 5.
Two weeks ago I see some light chatter surrounding Cloudwater's decision to make a light beer, a lager made with adjunct malts for a very light effervescent body produced most noticeably by the worlds biggest beer manufacturers. The immediate negative connotations surrounding this beer style and the usage of rice in the grist caused many to consider it a poor move on Cloudwater's part.
Maureen Ogle, in an article from the LA Times states that “Rice is considered by many brewers to be what the nasty, industrialized brewers use to water down their beer” and “craft brewers treat rice almost as if it were rat poison.” Sounds awful, right? However, I think we have to take a look at how it's used.
Moreover, 'watering down' beer means in this case lowing the viscosity of the body not actually adding water, and in a style like this, created as a beverage for refreshment it does seem to be a desired component. I won't judge Cloudwater for using it. This isn't for cost saving, it's for mouthfeel - and to me a lager should be refreshing. This one is also hopped with Pilgrim and Motueka, something you may find difficult to find in many of the macro owned lagers. Not that they'll release any information about what goes into their beer in the first place.
So why buy Cloudwater's light lager? Why not just pick up a 12 can box of Bud Lite from your local supermarket for a tenner if it's the same right? Here's why I think you should give it a chance.
1) They give a shit.
Cloudwater is still a local brewery that produces beer on a small scale. They're owned by people, not shareholders who care about the beer they produce. Despite their small stature, they've proved on multiple occasions that they care about the people they supply to, offering free compensated beer to folks struggling with Parcelforce's god awful service. Despite this not being something they have a direct hand in, they're more than happy to help. More recently with the announcement of an undisclosed amount of shares of Beavertown being sold to beer giant Heineken, Cloudwater pulled out of the Beavertown Extravaganza. Again, they offered ticket holders a promise of free beer pours at another venue in London TBC.
They're a small Mancunian brewery with large overheads. It costs them more per ml to make beer than the brewing big boys. Of course it's going to be more expensive for them, which is why they deserve our support.