Adnams: Explorer


You know, when it comes to companies that sell products called Explorer, I much prefer Adnams to Microsoft…I mean, who wouldn’t?

One company delivers first-class products that satisfy in every aspect, whilst the other provides lacklustre products that infuriate and annoy in equal measure.  (Mind you I’ll grudgingly accept that Excel is pretty good and Word’s kind of OK.  It’s IE that’s really shit.  Thinking about it, there was also that talking fucking paperclip and that goofy bloody dog animation…both of which were shit)

Anyway that’s all by-the-by, we’re here to talk Adnams Explorer…

Coming out of the bottle it’s a fine, well, beery colour.  The blurb on the bottle promised new world hops, and in the aroma they were duly delivered – by the spadeful:  Citrus, mint, pine needles and an underpinning faint suggestion of beeswax.  Marvellous.

A heart effervescence gives way to a gently understated body…this beer certainly doesn’t carry too many extra pounds in that department.  Pleasant maltiness underscores upfront -but not over-bearing- piney, honeyed, hop notes that slowly diminish to a satisfying bitterness that occasionally parts to reveal echoes of piney aftertaste.

This isn’t a gigantic beer or a study in the art of heavy-handed hopping.  It’s delicate, expertly hopped and very enjoyable.

If you were someone who was curious about American IPAs, you’d do well to try Explorer as it showcases the American hop varieties they use beautifully, without the inevitable high alcohol and bitterness quotient that those hard-hitting craft IPAs tend to have.

Speidel Braumeister: I’ve only gone and done it… (UPDATED)


I have, you know…I’ve only gone ordered myself a 20 litre Speidel Brewmaster yesterday…

(See my previous agonizing on a Brewmaster purchase here:

Oh Lloyds, my dear bank account, will you ever forgive me?

My wife has…but only by promise of a trip to Hatton Garden for something sparkly…she has also just successfully borne our second child too.  For bearing our first I bought her a chicken house (not to keep the child in, you understand.)

Back to the Brewmaster…do you mind me calling it a Brewmaster?  It sounds less teutonic*, uptight and haughty than “Braumeister”, doesn’t it?

(*not that there’s anything wrong with Germans, Germany or anything like that, I just think “Braumeister” sounds affected and poncey.  A bit like when people say ‘erbs instead of herbs when trying to be posh.  I’ll stop going on about it, now.)

I placed my order with the good people at Vigo ltd.  They seem to be the sole importers of Speidel kit in the UK, and also sport a very comprehensive line in other drink production/brewery equipment: fruit-stoning machines, cider presses, bottling machines all that sort of thing.

If I ever go the microbrewery route I know where I’ll be buying my bits from.

In the course of my conversations with Jon at Vigo I mentioned this blog and he offered to chuck in a free thermo-jacket for the Brewmaster, so that was nice of him.

I think what really sealed the deal is that they are quite the cheapest stockists of Speidel kit in the UK and they also carry a lot of it as stock…a lot of other re-sellers have to order it from Speidel in Germany which adds to the agonising wait time.

When placing my order I was told by Michelle at Vigo that the lead time on delivery is three days.  I hope this means I get it before the weekend – as that means I’ll be able to to brew!  Keep an eye out for the recipe – it’ll be a Chinook and Cascade IPA.  Get on!

Full report on packaging, delivery, the machine itself will follow in due course.  So far the experience of ordering with Vigo has been a very positive one.  If you’re in the market for Speidel (or even a new bottling plant!) you now know where to go:


Speidel Braumeister:



The BM arrived, beautifully packaged and in fine fettle on the Friday.  See pictures below (it’s soooo shiny):

20130830_204436  20130830_204931  20130830_211708

Potton Brewery: Shambles


On our way to Suffolk we pass through Bedfordshire on the A14.  We always seem to say to each other that it always seems a bit hum-drum and unexciting, as we zip through…

(If you happen to know of any enthralling facts about Bedfordshire then feel free to let me know/put me right.)

Thank god then, that Bedfordshire has at least got The Potton Brewery; that fact alone piqued my interest in the county no-end.

My father-in-law and I shared a bottle of Potton’s “Shambles” bitter.  I suspect that there’s some quirky or funny story about why they called it “Shambles” but I couldn’t find any anecdotes on their website to that end…

Shambles pours the colour of old cognac; this -coupled with the complete lack of any lasting head- could make you look to the uninformed like a serious top-shelf drinker if you were to stand about with a glass of it for any length of time.

There isn’t a vast amount in the nose, but what there is is honeyish, calvados-like and bursting with crystal malt.  In fact I’d go so far to say it’s a bit malt heavy.  There’s no real hop aroma, but this is a bitter so that’s to be expected.

In the taste I got a fairly light maltiness, which was quite unexpected given the promise of crystal in the aroma.  The mouth-feel was quite thin and reedy too; which could mean that either the yeast did too good a job eating up all the available sugars – or the mash temperature was on the low side.

(I’m not even going to suggest that there was any brewing sugar involved…but if there was that would explain a lot.)

Also In the taste was a really odd background flavour that I couldn’t place…I’ve no idea what it was, it wasn’t unpleasant…it was just odd…

There was a decent enough bitter trailing edge after the swallow, but not enough to enthrall or satisfy.

All-in-all it was an OK beer and as far as parallels to my current exposure to Bedfordshire, it was pretty the same: being slightly hum-drum and unexciting.

I suppose that’s the trouble with running a blog like this is that you hope every beer is going to be exceptional, it’s a shame that Shambles wasn’t…maybe Potton’s other beers are?

…if I can lay my hands on any of them I’ll let you know…

Adnams: Selection Box


Hah.  Look what I found in the Framlingham branch of Solar/Co-Op when I was visiting my in-laws in Suffolk: a selection pack of Adnams beers.

Six of them for a tenner.  That’s what I call a bargain.  Keep an eye out for the reviews.  I’m not sure I can manage six bottles in one sitting, so they’ll be spread out a bit…

The box contains:

Southwold Bitter, Broadside, Explorer, Lighthouse, Gunhill and Ghost Ship

(Yes, I know.  I’ve already reviewed SW Bitter, Broadside and Ghost Ship…but I can still drink them!)