On the last Thursday of each month, the Tate Modern host a tap takeover at their bar where a new brewery is invited to showcase their beers and talk about their history, art design and processes. Punters can purchase tickets that entitle them to 5 x 1/3 of each beer available for the reasonable price of £10.
We stumbled upon June’s tap takeover by chance, having forgotten this monthly event existed, and, being the absolute mavericks we are, decided that we’d not bother getting tickets in advance and would just roll up when it starts and nab some then. Considering the popularity of Cloudwater, you’d probably think we were idiots to come up with this plan – and you’d partially be right.
We arrived about 10 minutes before the event was due to officially start after having great difficulty finding the Tate Modern bar (seriously Tate Modern, some signage wouldn’t go amiss. It’s right around the back of the building for anyone planning on going!) and sidled up to the makeshift desk to get our grubby mitts on some tickets. The stars had aligned, we were about to be given the last two tickets available, absolute ballers! Then we were told they were given to another pair who had actually got to the bar just after us but were ‘negotiating’ (whatever that means). Disaster. Our complaints fell on deaf ears and we were about to give up when we asked if we could just buy the beers from the bar without the tickets and tokens. We could. Hooray! But only 3 of the 5 on offer due to limited availability. Boo! However, we realised that we weren’t mega bothered about the 2 we weren’t allowed. Hooray again! In summary, we are still absolute champs and absolute morons. Anyway, enough of my thrilling tale of acquiring tickets and on to the event itself…
As already mentioned, there were 5 different beers on offer. The ones with * are the ones we got to try:
Descriptions taken from Cloudwater
BA Winberry Cosweisse – A Brettanomyces Bruxellenis Lacto-Sour with Simcoe and Centennial hops, brewed in collaboration with Coswut, one of the loveliest home brewers you could ever hope to meet.
DDH IPA Citra* – We’ve doubled the amount of dry hops in this IPA to bring you our first DDH IPA. Fermented with WLP4000 and dry hopped with Citra, Amarillo, Chinook, and Centennial.
DDH Amarillo Pale Spring/Summer* – This mid strength Pale is double dry hopped with Amarillo, Chinook, and Mosaic. We increased the wheat malt for a richer mouthfeel and fermented with WLP001 for a neutral yeast profile.
DIPA London Ale* – Part of our English DIPA Series. Hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe and Willamette, and using London Ale yeast
Spring + Summer MF Grisette El Dorado – Our first grisette of the year is fermented with a mix of WLP644 and WLP568. The grist includes wheat malt, Golden Naked Oats, and torrified wheat to add body to this sessionable yeast focused beer. Lightly dry hopped with El Dorado and Mandarina Bavaria for a subtle hoppiness, you’ll find complex yeast notes from aroma to aftertaste.
Top left of the image above is the DDH Amarillo Pale which was a wonderful start to proceedings – slightly more bitter than I was expecting but a lovely refreshing drop and set us up nicely for things to come. Not the best Cloudwater beer I’ve had because the quality is so high but if any other brewery had churned this out it’d be the standout beer in their range which just shows how good this Manchester brewery is.
The main photo is the DDH IPA Citra and my beer of the evening. Dat murk. Pretty much alcoholic fruit juice, this was dangerously drinkable and went down extremely easily. There was a surprising watermelon-esque aftertaste that made me actually say ‘wow’ as I didn’t expect it but once it had settled, I couldn’t stop drinking it. The perfect beer for a summer’s evening. I may have had three of these.
Bottom left is the DIPA London Ale. Cloudwater have made a few beers using different yeasts from around the country (Burton and JW Lees being the other two in the English DIPA series) and this was the first I’ve been able to try. Darker in colour than the previous two beers and the strongest of the bunch at 9% this was definitely worth saving til last. Again, it did not taste its strength and we sank a few with alarming ease.
As well as these superb beers, there were several easels set up to showcase some of the artwork used on Cloudwater bottles and cans. I’ve always been a fan of the artwork used by Cloudwater and think their logo is one of the best used in the industry. I found out this was created by Textbook Studio who the brewery still work with today to help with artworking and other art and design shenanigans I know very little about.
I liked being able to see the full pieces of artwork on display because the cans and pump clips tend to use zoomed in parts of the images so this was the first time I got to see the designs as a whole which was great.
We were then treated to a 10-minute talk from co-founder and managing director of Cloudwater, Paul Jones, who chatted about the history of the brewery, how they collaborate with different artists on their label designs and then took some questions from the audience.
Some of the questions were pretty interesting, even if the answers were expected. The one question that stuck in the memory was about if Cloudwater have plans to open a London bar or taproom. The answer was semi-expected, they want to do this but only if they can do it their way and remain independent as they’ve had offers from different people but it hasn’t quite fit with their ethos. If a Cloudwater bar opens in London, my liver and bank account are going to be in total ruin.
A great night where I got to justify drinking because of art. Everyone’s a winner. You can follow which brewery is next taking over the taps at the Tate Modern bar via their website: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on