It’s Ace – @marksandspencer @adnams Sorachi Ace Saison


Thank god for access to great beer; you know, a few years back I would have had to go far and wide to pick up a bottle of Saison, and even then it was invariably an expensive bottle of Saison Dupont.

But you can now get your Saison fix in Marks and Sparks!  How nice is that?

I don’t know who it is at Mark’s that is driving their beer stocking strategy, but whoever it is should have their hand vigorously pumped and their back heartily and repeatedly slapped.

There’s so many beers to try and so many that I haven’t reviewed yet…

The great thing is, nearly all of these beers are brewed by proper reputable brewers for M&S; and because they’re each responsible for a different type, you can probably now get a wider variety of beer types in Mark’s than you can in any of the big supermarkets…

Sorachi Ace Saison is brewed by everyone’s favourite brewing legends: Adnams.

So, Sorachi Ace hops in a Saison?  Sound interesting…  If memory serves me correct Sorachi Ace were bred especially for the Japanese brewer Sapporo.  I’ve not much experience of them so let’s see what they contribute, shall we?

This Saison pours an hazy, yet enticing, cornfield yellow and exhibits a lovely luminosity when help up to the light.  There’s not much in the way of head, but that’s the way of the Saison sometimes.

The aroma is that of sweet good earth with an undercurrent of dry and dusty lemon: a bit like the back edge of a slurp of Lemsip, only much, much, nicer.

The mouth-feel is surprisingly luxurious given that this is a Saison, and the taste is spicy-lemony-citrus with a nice touch of alcohol.

The finish is pleasantly dry with a bit of resin and a good firm hoppiness at the swallow; which, if truth be told, meant that my glassful was gone in a flash.

The aftertaste goes on and on; in fact half of the pleasure in this beer is the finish and reverberating aftertaste.

God I wish I’d bought four more bottles of it…

Get some today…it will not fail to delight.

PS: I’m going to do my best to get through and review the complete M&S beer range – a feat which M&S can help with I’m sure…all you folks need to do is stuff a few in a box and send them to me.  That’ll get me off to a flying start…

Adnams getting all “crafted up”…


Ok, ok, I know.  “crafted up” is such a wanky turn of phrase, but on a pub-less Friday lunchtime I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway; It seems Adnams are producing some very exciting beers, either in partnership with other brewers or all by themselves.  Folks, this is precisely the sort of thing that all brewers should be doing: keep a good solid range that’ll always get drunk and give yourself license to experiment..and when you do, shout it from the rooftops.

Look at these last couple of press releases from the Adnams site:

A double IPA in collabortaion with Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing:

Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale:  (I’m first in line for this when I go to visit the in-laws in Suffolk)

A red Ale with Camden Town Brewery:  (Red ale doesn’t sound that exciting, but look at the hop bill: Topaz, Summer, Ella and Galaxy – it’ll be a fruit salad of a beer!)

Well done, Adnams,  I look forward to trying these beers and putting my thoughts into print.

Adnams: Lighthouse


Stormy weather
Just can’t get my poorself together,
I’m weary all the time
So weary all the time
When he went away the blues walked in and met me.
If he stays away old rockin’ chair will get me.

Just like Billie Holliday when she chirped out this catchy little upbeat number, we in the UK have been suffering from stormy weather.

Most of us got through it OK, and even more of us -unlike dear old Billie- were lucky enough not to be under threat of imminent attack by the furniture.

Looking at the lyrics I think she probably could have done with going to the quack to get some pills down her gills…

Anyway, whilst rummaging about in the cupboard for something to drink I came across a bottle of Adnams Lighthouse – which seemed extraordinarily apposite given all this storm-based hoopla we’ve all just experienced.

Lighthouse is indeed a guiding light for us all, and a lesson in how to make a small beer big.  At 3.4%, Lighthouse is definitely on the low ABV side, but Adnams have woven their magic yet again to make something that feels a whole lot bigger.

Appearing in the glass as a light polished copper colour, Lighthouse held up a head that quickly fell back to a slick sea-foam covering.

The aroma was of honeyed golden maltiness and minerality. Light and fresh smelling, like a bracing walk on the beach.

The body of Lighthouse was good and thick, I’m guessing generous dextrins helped out a lot here…maybe they mashed just that little bit higher to encourage the cheeky blighters?   Maltiness abounds in the taste accompanied by a delicate, light hoppiness.

The after-taste was long and elegantly bitter with resiny, piney hops in the mix.

All this taste, texture and enjoyment in such a “small” beer…  Well done, Adnams  (again!)

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.