What better way to launch my new editorial and commercial photography site than with a bit of an epic post and the start of a personal project i'm working on. Earlier in the year the guys at brewers design society (link) put together an exhibition over at Tall Boys in Leeds, exploring "an artist view of brewing". I had been planning a few personal projects in my head that i'd like to work on and this just slotted in with some ideas coming together, so for my submission I wanted to capture an image which summed up the brewing process. Initially when I had the idea I knew I wanted to focus on a new brewery, Cloudwater Brewery had fairly recently launched so they came straight to mind. Having been following the instragram updates on the build and fit out I knew it would be perfect and after chatting to Paul about dates and timings they managed to find a suitable time where i could head over and document a brew. One of the images featured in the show, and the rest are part of a bigger personal project I'm working on, (more of which at a later date)
Arriving at the brewery bright and early I was welcomed in and promptly given a freshly brewed coffee which I certainly needed to battle the remains of my honeymoon jetlag, by now the whole team were hard at work covering various tasks. Brewing on the day was a Session IPA that was to be part of the summer range. Right from the start of the day it was great to document the passion and energy of the very small team, although a relatively automated system compared to some of the tiny breweries I have visited in the past at least, James was fine tuning every detail and tweaking along the way to ensure the best quality brew possible. The warehouse as it currently stands allows plenty of daylight in, casting a warm and fresh feel to the space throughout the day changing as it needed to allow the team to be flexible.
The hand bottle machine is hidden to the side and whilst Will cracked on with filling casks Emma was finishing up packing the orders that were flying out of the door. Paul explained capacity was an issue with demand for the range, leaving them having to step up the brewing schedule earlier than expected. There were glimpses of the future of the brewery aswell, a selection of Bordeaux wine barrels were sat sharing their flavours with a special edition of old garde.
Each day the team test and assess the beers currently fermenting, this day was no different, setting out all the different glasses its easy to see what a wide range of styles are already coming forward. It was great to get a teaser for what was coming up in the range and everyones excitement at getting a taster, especially a couple in the very early stages of fermentation. The IPA was gaining feedback as the best yet, but there were still discussions on how to improve it, judging by what i've tasted since it's getting better with each batch from an already great starting point.
As the day progressed, the space constantly changed, with orders flying out all over the country, casks getting filled and the space adapting as needed It was great watching James in action. A rare sunny and warm day in manchester, the light was pouring in through the skylights and the shutter doors, leaving the stainless steel shimmering throughout. Just before I left Paul shared some much needed ice cream and I was given a few bottles and an ace cloudwater branded glass, not a style i've seen often but certainly a favourite for me now. The bottles from the spring range were Bergamot Hopfen Weisse, session ipa, and the ipa, all tasting great but the bergamot Hopfen Weisse was certainly a stand out for me. Being focused on using only seasonal ingredients it’s a shame we’ll have to wait until next spring for more fresh Bergamot for a new batch. As well as the beer range changing each season Cloudwater are also working with different creatives to produce individual artworks for the labels per season, which is great for keeping the designs and branding constantly evolving.