Time to zip off to Suffolk and Adnams of Southwold. Adnams is one of Britain’s larger independent breweries and produce a good range of beers, some on a regular basis and others seasonally or occasionally. Their online shop sells mini-kegs. Service can, on occasions, be a little chaotic, but they do at least seem to resolve any problems effectively. For example, they recently sold us some beer that was borderline “best-by date”, but allowed us to have some fresher beer to the value of the original order as well as keeping the original beer, which was in perfectly good condition. Not a bad deal!
Southwold Bitter and Ghost Ship are commonly available, the latter often found in supermarkets. We’ve tried a fair range of their beers, so we should look at those.
Southwold Bitter (3.7%)
A good balance of malt and hops, with a bitter finish. This is a very palatable session beer and while the first taste suggests nothing special, there is a complexity that comes through later. There’s a little toffee and caramel sweetness that is offset by a roast bitterness.
Ghost Ship (4.5%)
A very pale beer with a distinctly citrus tone to it. The slightly fruity sweetness is offset by a sharp and pleasing bitterness. Proof that mass production does not necessarily mean blandness.
Another pale beer and another fruity one, this time with a more tropical fruit feel than citrus. Closer to a session ale than Ghost Ship, but with a similar bitter note.
Ease-up IPA (4.6%)
More fruitiness, again of the tropical variety. This is a very juicy beer, with any sweetness coming from the fruit rather than the malt.
Dry-hopped Lager (4.2%)
Brewed with Pilsner malt and dry-hopped using Australian hops. It’s a reasonably clean-tasting and bitter beer, though I find it a little on the bland side.
Blackshore Stout (4.2%)
A relatively light (in strength) stout, but a very tasty one nonetheless. Nice coffee and dark chocolate tinges and a gentle bitterness in the finish. A really pleasing beer and low enough to treat as a session ale.
Old Ale (4.1%)
A style you rarely see these days. Old ales are not quite stouts, not quite milds and not quite winter warmers. It is, though, in the fashion of a darker ale, with those chocolate and liquorice flavours of a black beer. There is, like the stout, a soft bitterness and a hint of red fruit. Sometimes hard to find, but worth seeking out.
Much more malty than any other Adnams beer, with dark fruit flavours. Personally, I find Broadside a little too sweet and malty, but this is simply my preference.