Forgive me for saying so, but Cloudwater have always felt a bit.... cult-y to me. Their beers seem to attain legendary status before the yeast has settled, and that (combined, to be fair, with their usually substantial ABV) drives the price into "you have got to be joking" territory.
Their DIPAs are the pinnacle of this hype, with each version accompanied by breathless reports of how drinking version 42 is akin to licking the sweat from Bacchus' own brow, and how you should sacrifice your first-born to ensure you get your hands on a coveted bottle.
As you might be able to tell, I've never fully bought into this. I'll admit I did emit a little squeak of excitement when I spotted some bottles lurking in the back of my local's fridge but, after tasting it my cynicism seemed well-placed. Don't get me wrong, their DIPA is a very nice beer, but it's not as godly as you might have been led to expect.
Still, this review has bugger all to do with that beer, so I'll get off my high horse and back on track.
New England IPA is relatively tame by Cloudwater standards, at a mere 7.0% ABV. It's a nice looking beer, pale amber in the glass with a fine textured head sat on top.
The aroma is sweet, delicious and tempting - nicely floral, with light citrus hoppy overtones. As it sits in the glass hints of rich, marmalade-y sweetness start to come through too.
In the mouth, it's rich and sweet with a deep, resinous hop character. Big, bold flavours of ripe oranges and touches of honey are kept well under control by all those hops. The finish isn't massive, but is nicely bitter, which stops the richness from becoming too much.
This isn't an overpowering beer, and I've seen criticism elsewhere that it's not a "proper" New England IPA. But it is comfortably the best beer I've tasted from Cloudwater (not to mention the cheapest) and despite it's 7.0% strength, it's the sort of beer I could easily spend the whole evening drinking. 4.5 stars.
I guess maybe some of the hype is justified after all!
This review was originally published 22nd December, 2017. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.