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WHEN the fifth best brewery in the world comes a calling you know you’re doing something right. West Didsbury’s award-winning Volta bar stages Meet The Brewery events in association with brilliant bottle shop The Epicurean across the road, but booking Cloudwater was quite a coup.

In just two years of existence the Ancoats-based brewers have taken the beer world by storm, culminating in that accolade from the Rate Beer Awards in San Francisco. Volta itself has not been short of gongs – the latest being named Casual Dining Venue of the year at The Manchester Food and Drink Awards 2016.

Quite a treat for just £15 a ticket

The quality was evident at the March tasting when a succession of small plates arrived across the course of three hours’ intense sampling of the eclectic Cloudwater beer range. Quite a treat for just £15 a ticket. 

And you also got the chance, between courses, to quiz brewery co-founder Paul Jones about their latest projects. Of which there are many after their decision to avoid a core range in favour of fluctuating seasonal beers – 100 so far – notably the limited edition hop-led DIPAs, numbered 1 to 13. 

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Cloudwater co-founder Paul Jones

Five beers were served on the night, three of them from can, unthinkable a year ago. First up was a schooner ‘aperitif’ of the draught 3.5% ABV Pale Ale.

A small plate of blood orange and cumin cured salmon and crème fraîche was accompanied by the equally light and fresh Motueka Pilsner (also 3.5%) – the first of the night’s cans. No replica of corporate lager this. Antipodean hops are used in this homage to a middle European style.

The next small plate was of precisely spiced chicken wings with a herby slaw. Lots of beer styles could accompany this type of dish; here the choice was a canned IPA with Chinook and Vic Secret hops. Coming in at 6.5%, this balanced being big and juicy with that yeast-driven savoury base, often recognised in Cloudwater beers.

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Desserts followed. A not too sweet mascarpone panna cotta topped with a sprinkle of coconut granola was paired with the final can and beer of the night, the first of two collaborations with other breweries.  This was the complex, biscuity Pétillant Naturel Houblonee (12%), made in association with French brewers Brasserie Du Mont Salève, using Champagne yeast.

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An almond, cinnamon and glazed apple cake was matched, understandably, with Make Apple Pie Great Again from the tap. Just a third of 6.3% deep murk that could almost be mistaken for a third dessert. This collaboration with Against the Grain of Louisville, Kentucky was rich and spiky, close to chewable. Fascinating end to a great evening from a bar where beer really counts.

The next Meet The Brewer is on Monday, April 24 and features Leeds’ Northern Monk.

Get tickets from Volta and The Epicurean - find out more.

Photos: @georgieglass_ 

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