BrewDog and Cloudwater originally combined forces to release this New England IPA in early 2017. It was followed up six months later with a limited release V2 edition. Fast forward to August 2019 and we’re now lucky enough to find this beer available in most large Tesco stores across the UK.
Two years is a long time in some ways, but it’s also the blink of an eye; Brexit still hasn’t bloody happened but we’ve got a wide range of craft beer available in supermarkets. It was unthinkable two years ago that you’d find a Cloudwater beer in Tesco, yet here we are.
Is it a good thing, though? BrewDog have had beers in supermarkets for quite some time now – Punk IPA has hit the price point where it’s a direct competitor for macro lager. Fridge-fillers are now much more drinkable and that is definitely a good thing.
This New England IPA is £3 a can though, so it’s not at that fridge-filler, quid-a-can, level of affordability, but it might entice some people who wouldn’t normally spend that much on a beer to give it a go. And if you’re a craft beer fan who routinely spends £5+ on a beer, you’ve now got a decent fridge-filler, as good as many beers twice the price.
The secret's out.
BrewDog VS @cloudwaterbrew – New England IPA.
— BrewDog (@BrewDog) August 5, 2019
Thinking back to this beer when it first came out in 2017; it was a stunning NEIPA, on par with Cloudwater’s best efforts of this style – and they are the best in the UK at this style. It was hazy, juicy, good level of bitterness, slightly dank. It had everything you’d want in a NEIPA.
What about the 2019 version, then? It is still very, very good. For £3, this beer is spectacular. It is still juicy, hazy, bitter and hoppy; it might well be as good as it was in 2017. It’s hard to say for certain, without a time machine.
It doesn’t excite us now as much as it did back in 2017, but back then it was a limited edition collaboration between two of the UK’s finest breweries. Beer has moved on so much since and this is now mass-produced to the level where it can be supplied to supermarkets, so even if the recipe hasn’t changed, the world has turned and left us here, with even better beers available in bottle shops from upstart breweries that were just finding their feet back then.
Breweries in the UK now such as Verdant, Polly’s Brew Co, North and Northern Monk are producing better beers than this one in 2019, but not for £3 a can and not that you can pick up with your loo rolls, potato waffles and baked beans on a Saturday afternoon in your local Tesco as part of your weekly shop. That in itself is just as exciting, in a totally different way, as it was to taste this beer for the first time two years ago.