Beer Reviews

Cloud Harvest 05: Aitutaki

Aitutaki (6.5%) marks the fifth entry into our Cloud Harvest series, a rotating roster of Unfiltered Juicy IPAs. Taking its name from a remote island featuring a stunning turquoise lagoon, Aitutaki harbors plenty of vibrant juicy hop flavor. Strata, Talus, Citra, Comet, and Cascade hops impart notes of citrus, passionfruit and strawberry. Read on to get the full forecast on the latest Cloud Harvest release.

Reviews are done by our Sensory Specialist Travis Houston, a Certified Cicerone and FoBAB judge.

Malts: Pilsner, Wheat, Carafoam, Naked Oats, Acidulated

Hops: Strata, Talus, Citra, Comet, Cascade

Cloud Harvest 05 is the fifth iteration in our Unfiltered Juicy IPA Series. Just to refresh, will you talk about the rotational nature of this series.

These beers revolve around hop experimentation. I’ve spoken in previous Cloud Harvest reviews about the unique dry hopping regimen called “primary hopping,” a recent innovation that focuses on juicy citrus and tropical flavors. The malt bill stays relatively consistent across the Cloud Harvests, but the hop combinations are all drastically different. We chose these specific hop combos after several rounds of trial and error on our pilot system, which allows us to better predict how the hops will compliment both the malt bill and each other. This allows us to target very specific flavor profiles while making each iteration uniquely delicious.

The first four releases in the Cloud Harvest series have been well received, but everyone has a favorite. What makes Aitutaki (05) different from 01, 02, 03 and 04?

Many of the previous iterations have featured exciting emerging hops from the newer growing regions, like Australia and New Zealand. Cloud Harvest 05 also uses some interesting hops that only recently hit the market, but they’re all from the Pacific Northwest. Cascade, Comet, and Citra are some of the most beloved American hops to ever hit the craft beer scene. They add loads of pithy grapefruit, citrus rind, and resinous pine, both in flavor and aroma. Strata is a brand new varietal, and it brings notes of fresh strawberry, bright passionfruit, and juicy grapefruit. Talus is the other new hop used in Cloud Harvest 05, and it brings notes of pink grapefruit, citrus peel, and pine. The strawberry and pink grapefruit notes really shine through, giving this version an incredibly unique hop profile that’s wonderfully suited for spring weather.

What makes you want to drink this beer?

Cloud Harvest 05 is perfect for the transition from spring into summer. The hints of fresh strawberry and juicy grapefruit layer beautifully over a base of citrus and pine. The malt bill, mainly the wheat and oats, soften the mouthfeel and dampen the bitterness, creating a juice-like body and finish, enhancing the fresh fruit flavors derived from primary hopping.

What are some of your favorite recent IPAs that lean into a juicier, softer hop profile?

Bell’s Official Hazy IPA and Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing are both readily available. If you want a bit of a challenge, seek out anything by Monkish, Treehouse, or Trillium: you may have to put in some effort, but it will be well worth it.

Appearance: Gold with high haze and thick, fluffy, white foam.

Aroma: Tangerine, pink grapefruit, strawberry, passionfruit.

Taste: Very mild bitterness allows hop derived citrus flavors to enhance the perception of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and juice-like while managing to be non-cloying and highly drinkable.

Overall: Cloud Harvest 05 is hazy and gold with a fluffy white head, and features fresh notes of tangerine, strawberry, and grapefruit, backed by a full, juice-like body and mild bitterness.

What foods would pair well with Cloud Harvest 05?

This beer would go really well with a spring salad, especially one with strawberries.

Ideal glassware for Cloud Harvest 05?

A glass with an inward curve at the top to capture the massive bouquet of aromas.