Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

Adnams a king of brewers which gets into the spirit

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Adnams still

Adnams may be more than 140 years old, but this is no old-fashioned company – it has some great green credentials, brews some fabulous beers and is introducing a new generation to the delights of malt and hops.

But it was the fact that it is now a distiller which took me to Southwold, in Suffolk as I was there to write a piece for my forthcoming book the Haynes Whisky Manual.

And what a fabulous state of the art distillery the Copper House Distillery is. It might have only been opened four years but it is already being given many accolades for its gin, whisky, vodka and other distilled gems.

However, the trip enabled me to renew my love affair for one of my favourite beers Adnams Broadside.

A pier, a lighthouse, beach huts and some fabulously intimate pubs all make the town of Southwold on England’s East coast standout from the crowd.

However, it is the brewery, in the shadow of the lighthouse, where in 1345 the “ale-wives” of the town made beer, which makes it truly memorable. In 1872, two brothers, George (who was later eaten by a crocodile in Africa) and Ernest Adnams bought the brewery, with an inheritance from their father.

Today, the brewery has the reputation for making some quintessential English ales and for being the “greenest” brewery in Europe.

The production of its “beers from the coast” is overseen by Fergus Fitzgerald. As the head brewer he has to turn his hand to many things including the introduction of eco-friendly technology. However, his passion is not just the brewing of traditional ale, he is revelling in exploring the limits to which styles can be pushed – be it low strength or higher alcohol beers – cask or keg.

American hops, Champagne yeast and spices and can all be found in the brewhouse

Cinnamon a touch of juniper and were added to a spiced winter beer. And drawing inspiration from other great brewing cultures, he has produced a Belgian style wheat beer, a Dutch Bok and a New Zealand Ale.

But it is not just Champagne yeast that can found in the brewery, there are Champagne bottles too, which when filled are helping bring beer to a new audience. And as the brewery also has its own boutique distillery, we can perhaps soon look forward to some wood aged beers?

But it is the Broadside which is my favourite, with a bold mouth feel the taste is dominated by blackberries and other dark fruit which vie for attention with the rich, roasted sweet, caramel malt. It’s rich but not overwhelming. There are lots of hops and spice on the nose. Its sheer pleasure. And like the sound of the sea rolling in from the turbulent North Sea, I’ll never tire of it.


Written by timhampson

October 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Adanms

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