Beer Review: Cloudwater & The Pilcrow Pub – The Missing Piece

Photograph of The Missing Piece can

I’ve been sitting here for a good 20 minutes, trying to express my feelings about this beer. As I go to type, I find myself reaching over and picking up my glass instead. I have another sip, put the beer back down, and fade away into hop heaven. If someone were to say to me that this was the only IPA I’d have for the rest of my life, I think I’d be quite content. As you may have gathered already, I absolutely love this beer.


The Missing Piece is a collaborative offering from Manchester’s finest, Cloudwater Brew Co, and their local pals, Pilcrow Pub, who celebrated their first birthday just the other week. On the few times that I had been to Manchester in the past 12 months, I wasn’t aware of the Pilcrow’s existence. However, this brew has put them firmly in my mind-map and next time I’m in the north end of town I’ll certainly pay them a visit.

Before acquiring a can myself, I’d seen a fair amount of buzz surrounding The Missing Piece on Instagram. Now this was buzz in a good way – people were seriously impressed with this offering and on more than one occasion I saw the statement “A return to form for Cloudwater”. I thought this was interesting statement; Cloudwater have a reputation for producing some of the finest hop-forward IPAs in the UK, and although they haven’t caused me to cry tears of joy like when I tried my first ‘V series’ DIPA, I can’t see where this comment has come from. As my good buddy Rob exclaimed as I told him this story: “When did they drop form?!”.

Photograph of the bottom of The Missing Piece can

Puzzled indeed

The beer

The Missing Piece is a double dry hopped IPA, fermented with JW Lees 2845th generation yeast. Hops wise, Mosaic is the central player with Citra and Ekuanot providing support. The beer sits at 7% and came in a 440ml can.

The pour

Photograph of The Missing Piece poured

As you can see from the picture above, the beer looks like an absolutely stellar fruit smoothie (if you’re willing to ignore the head). Seriously, it would not look out of place at your local Fuel juice bar. It’s a big cause of debate at the moment, but personally, I love a murky beer (when it’s done well). The haze comes from the sheer amount of hops that have been blasted into the concoction during the brewing process. Double dry hopping is serious business, and Cloudwater are not the kind of guys to sacrifice flavour and aroma for the sake of clarity.

The aroma

As soon as I cracked open the can, I knew I was in for a good time. The aroma hops were doing a lot of work – I picked up strong fruity notes of mango, oranges and clementines, but also more savoury and earthen qualities, like grass and straw. It was everything you could want from a dry hopped IPA, and the smell enticed me like a siren beckoning sailors to their doom.

Photograph of The Missing Piece can and poured beer

The taste

It comes as no surprise that the beer tastes incredible. Upon your first sip, the sheer ferociousness of the hops hit the back of your throat and lingers in your mouth. Dank, bitter and sweet – The Missing Piece ticks all the boxes. Although Mosaic hops take centre stage, they’re not overpowering and work in tandem with the Citra and Ekuanot. The sweetness itself comes through strongly, but doesn’t outstay its welcome. Regarding the bitterness, I’d say it’s pretty damn perfect – just enough to stop you from knocking the whole drink back, but not enough to stop you from going back for more. Oh and did I mention the dankness?!


Overall, this is a ridiculously strong outing from Cloudwater that certainly lives up to the hype. If you happen upon The Missing Piece, be it in can or or draft, do yourself a favour and give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.


More Wednesday Beers – Beaverillium IPA

Dave Canham

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