Brexit may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you sit down to enjoy a pint – except if you're in the United Kingdom, perhaps, where the craft beer landscape could be significantly altered by the country's exit from the European Union.
"It could be catastrophic for a lot of breweries," says Paul Jones, founder of Manchester's Cloudwater brewery. "Whatever way I look at Brexit, it's a mess," he says, explaining how exports, for example, could become difficult for microbreweries, putting pressure on the domestic market and creating greater competition at home. There's also the consistent uncertainty about what the future holds, making it difficult to plan.
“But we work by our own principles,” says Jones, adding that he’s not worried about the impact of Brexit on the brewery’s socially motivated ethos. Cloudwater, which celebrates its fourth birthday next March, has collaborated with microbreweries around the world, including Sligo’s White Hag at their recent Samhain Winter Beer Festival in Dublin. It’s all part of Cloudwater’s drive to work with other brewers “to be part of the whole development of the craft market”.
Their beers are constantly rotating and seasonal, with short sell-by dates and come with a distinctive, simple design. The aim is what Jones describes as a “high-value experience for consumers . . . with premium but accessible” products. The price of their beers in Ireland may put some people off, however (two 440ml cans came to nearly €13), but the quality is undoubtedly high.
Cloudwater’s DDH Pale Citra BBC 5.5 per cent is a deliciously hoppy and hazy beer with orange and tropical fruit flavour and aroma, with a light, fluffy body and a smooth finish from the addition of flaked oats.
DIPA Citra Ekuanot BBC is also hazy with lots of tangerine flavour and juiciness. As double IPAs go, it’s very balanced and drinkable at 8 per cent.