What a lovely way to make a beer: @Adnams – Wild Hop Amber Beer

20141014_121037I find my self continually impressed by Adnams approach to brewing and their ability to connect with their public.  No wonder they do so well…

I’ve had the very good fortune to watch the development of the Wild Hop from it’s embryonic idea: http://adnams.co.uk/about/news/beer-news/hop-to-it-adnams-needs-you/ through to the finished article out of the cask.  If I was Fergus and the crew, I’d declare this one a winner and put it on my schedule of seasonal beers every year!

Rather selfishly (and also because I live a good 150-odd miles away) I kept all of my cascade hop harvest to myself and put the lot in my Fresh Hop Cascade Pale Ale – which I’ll review soon.

Next year, when I hope to have a ton more hops, I might well contribute too…

Anyway.  I had the singular good fortune to be in Southwold when Wild Hop was available on the pumps.  I had a pint of it in the Sole Bay Inn with a lovely lunch – a lunch in which my children behaved like angels, too.  (they normally do, to be fair.  Just rather noisily…)

Wild Hop arrived in a nice hoppily-hazy style, with a good lasting head and an orangey-copper sort of colour about it.  The nose wasn’t wildly hoppy (if you’ll excuse the pun) but I wouldn’t have expected anything else…god knows it’s difficult enough to get a reliable hefty hop aroma into a cask beer when using named “C” varieties.  But the aroma was hoppily enticing enough to get me all excited, stop taking notes and just drink the pint.

The taste was typically Adnams – a lovely fruity note from the malt and the Adnams house yeast (I might buy a polypin of their bitter one day, just to try and harvest enough yeast to brew a cheeky Adnams clone myself!) and then the hops came marching in:

Wow.  What a whirl of hops – multiple different hop notes vying for attention and each delivering on their own level…this is what a really good multi-hop brew tastes like.  The bitterness was just about bang-on for my taste and was satisfying and refreshing.

I would (and have) drunk Wild Hop again since and it’s always been marvellous…and now I see that it was available in bottles!  Blast.  I think I’ve missed the boat there a bit.  I have hopes of securing a bottle for comparison somehow, but fear that I might be out of luck.

Wild hop is testament to Adnams skill as a brewer in engaging their loyal fans and getting them to contribute all those hops, and taking those contributions and turning them into something interesting, rewarding and enjoyable…


Adnams: Southwold Bitter (Draught)


Here’s a rapid review of the draught version of Southwold Bitter, original review of the bottled version is here:


Just like the bottle version but with a slightly more pronounced leading bitterness. Beautifully balanced malt and mouth feel. Excellent after taste. Just perfect.

I do honestly rate Southwold Bitter up with Brakspear Bitter as the definitive expressions of the Bitter beer style.  Maybe you know different, Dear Reader…if you think there’s something that I’m missing, or should be tasting, drop me a line and I’ll check it out.


Adnams: Southwold Bitter


Look here’s another beer from those lovely people at Adnams:

Adnams Southwold Bitter has an interesting label design and features Southwold Jack, who is the bell striker figure on the clock tower in Southwold and seems to be a local institution…the Adnams website has this to say:

Local legend has it, he [Jack] was actually a young man, a soldier or ‘man at arms’ from the Wars of the Roses, the mystery being, what was his connection to Southwold? The nearest of the civil wars to Southwold were in Barnet near London and St Albans.  Some believe he was a local boy who fought as an armoured foot-soldier for the House of York.  Some believe he was sent to protect Southwold after the wars from the smuggling that was rife along the coast. Pessimists believe he came to attack it.  The jury is still out.

Either way if he was still knocking about [as it were] today, he’d be proud to be associated with this brand and beer

It’s worth bearing in mind that Adnams intend this beer to be as near a match for the draught version as possible – which is good of them, I’ve had so many different beers where the bottle version bears no relation to the draught…

Straight from the bottle the Southwold bitter pours with a really nice bright clarity, is mid-brown coloured and features a nice tight white head.

The aroma doesn’t blow you away, but why should it?  It’s a bitter, and that how it should be. I found it beautifully bitter -crisply bitter, in fact- and very tasty; mouthwatering malt in the mouth without being over-sweet, which is a welcome thing as I find that too many beers these days seem to be over-sweet.

The after taste endures for a good long time and as soon as it’s gone prompts you to drink again.

What more can I say?  A first class bitter from a first class brewer.  Highly recommended and worth ringing the bells about.

Another beer from Asda, and as part of the three for a fiver deal it’s a bit of bargain.  I’m still waiting for the case, though…