An afternoon pint of Cloudwater Porter

by Steve


I’ve written about railway pints before. Those wonderful snatched moments where a wait for a train becomes an opportunity and a pleasure, rather than an annoyance.

I find myself with a meeting finished slightly early and a train ticket with no flexibility.

I find myself in a pub with exposed wood, mismatched tables and chairs, quirky wallpaper and framed photos of that bloke from LCD Soundsystem.

It is not generally the sort of place I warm to, but it turns out It is an unlikely frontrunner for the ideal venue for a pre-train pint.

Say what you will about these sorts of places, but they do generally have great beer. And while I imagine it is not my scene on a Saturday night, on a midweek afternoon the creatives and busy creating and the hipsters are busy being hip and so I have the run of the place and can pick the prime spot to enjoy that beautiful late afternoon winter light, toast a meeting well navigated and contemplate the journey ahead. And breathe out.

And, as I said. You can rely on a good pint in these sorts of places.

I have a pint of Cloudwater Porter. There seems to have been a fair amount of fuss over Cloudwater, but what I’ve drunk more than lives up to the hype. I like they approach their brewing in a seasonal way, the right beer for the right time of year.

So now for the unhelpful beer review.

First, the aroma. Something homely, comforting, familiar. I sniff again as I appreciate these are fairly nebulous concepts. There’s a hint of smokiness, like stepping in a country pub the morning after they had the fire roaring. But without the accompanying smell of stale, spilt booze and sweat. Just the good smells.

Then time for a taste. This beer is all about the mouthfeel. It is soft and lovely. A boozy cuddle. A pillow in a porter.

I wonder if this is down to the water. Great porters usually use hard water, hence so many good London porters. This is something quite different. Softer. So I assume softer water. I’m no expert.

There’s less of the burnt taste or hints of coffee that is often in a porter. It is all more subtle.

But that’s not to say it’s a dull beer. The skill in this beer is that everything is interesting, yet balanced. It doesn’t shout at you and punch you in the face. That’s too easy. Too many beers do that.

It dials things down yet the nuances remain. It is friendly without being obvious. Smart without being clever-clever.

I nearly missed the train. It would have been worth it.