24 January 2017
We love inviting other brewers up to Ellon to share ideas and join forces to unleash something truly special – and hot on the heels of our hook-up with Omnipollo we welcomed another amazing team of brewers to Aberdeenshire this week. Cloudwater need no introduction to anyone who has taken even a passing interest in the UK craft beer scene over the last couple of years, so we jumped at the chance to brew up a storm with Paul Jones and his team.
And the beer we made was truly the style of the moment – a Vermont IPA.
Hops will always be in fashion, but the way they are deployed changes almost from year to year. Recently there has been a new addition into the pantheon of India Pale Ale – a move away from the biting, resinous IPAs of the West Coast of the USA. Pioneered by breweries in New England such Hill Farmstead, Trillium and in particular The Alchemist in Vermont, the new kid on the hop block is a very different type of beer – but no less amazing to drink (and to brew).
Vermont IPA is characteristically hazy, which is the initial point of difference you get when pouring one into a glass – but the key aspect they have is the hop flavour. Yielding tropical and stone fruit, these beers are more subtle than the high-IBU hop bombs of the West Coast; yet what they lack in intensity and bitterness they more than make up for in flavour and depth. They are fascinating, and when we dialled in a collaboration with Paul and the guys; the obvious choice.
BrewDog vs Cloudwater is a 6.8% Vermont-style India Pale Ale, hopped with Mosaic in the whirlpool only. Without any big-hitting additions of hops in the boil, we carried the flavour by heavily dry-hopping the brew with Citra and Mosaic. Topping out at around 35IBU, we also used oats in the recipe to deliver the trademark smooth mouthfeel – and made it truly authentic by propagating a one-off culture of Vermont yeast, specifically for the brew.
We caught up with Paul and asked him why Vermont IPA is so approachable. “With their juicy, fruity aroma, low bitterness, bold flavours, and sumptuous mouthfeel, they are both incredible gateway beers for anyone just getting into modern beer,” he said. “They are also deeply satisfying to committed beer enthusiasts that know their Summit from their onions. It's a treat to be able to make juicy IPAs and present them to near enough everyone.”
Cloudwater certainly know a thing or two about IPA – they have been raising the bar almost continually since they started out when it comes to depth of flavour in hoppy beers – as anybody who has tried their stunning DIPA can attest. It was fantastic to welcome them to Ellon and we can’t wait to see how BrewDog vs. Cloudwater Vermont IPA will turn out. Check back soon for its release date and let us know in the comments who else you’d love to see us dial in a beer with!