I’ve been down in England quite a lot in recent months and this has given me the opportunity to sample a few beers that I don’t get to see all that often round these here parts, at least not on draught. However, Adnams Bitter, the beer I’m talking about today is usually pretty easy to find in pubs this far north, so I didn’t have to travel all the way down to London for it…if only I’d known. I could’ve stayed put and probably only paid £1.50 or so for a pint in Wetherspoons rather than the £2.80 I was ‘relieved’ of in the ‘Adam and Eve’ pub. No, I didn’t adam and eve their prices either.
The Sole Bay Brewery in the Suffolk town of Southwold has been in business since 1857 when the Adnams brothers established it, although the site has been used for brewing much longer – since the late 14th century, in fact. They brew a range of ales which owe their quality, according to their website, “to the finest East Anglian barley, old-fashioned English hop varieties and famous Adnams yeast.” These ales include: Fisherman and this one, the imaginatively named Bitter.
“Adnams Bitter is brimming with the fragrance of our finest hops and malt, it’s dry yet refreshing, with a lingering bitter flavour.”
This beer pours a slightly dark, burnished copper colour with good clarity and a crown of tan-coloured, thick and creamy foam. The head lasts really well, only shrinking a little and leaving clumps of frothy lace all the way down the glass.
The aroma is quite fruity, with lots of lemony citrus and a definite sense of apples, maybe even a hint of orange peel. It’s pretty floral too so there’s no mistaking the hop presence in this one. There’s some malt – a little biscuity and doughy, but the nose is all about hops.
It has quite a flattish, watery mouthfeel with a medium body. The initial taste has a bit more malt profile, with crumbly biscuit and soft caramel tones. However, it soon turns decidedly drier and more bitter in the middle with lots of floral and grassy tones. It’s a little woody, and a touch nutty, but it’s the dry, lingering bitterness that’s most noticeable. It finishes with a good hoppy tang leading to a dry, and mouthsmackingly bitter aftertaste.
• The Verdict •
At 3.7% ABV, this is a refreshing and satisfying session ale. It’s not the tastiest in the world, nor the most complex, but it’s a good, old-fashioned thirst-quencher and there’s nothing wrong with that. This isn’t a beer you’re going to ponder over too much, it’s more of an everyday type and definitely a nice one to accompany a pub meal with as it’s not going to clash or detract with anything.
As I said, it’s not a spectacular beer, but it’s a nice easy session ale that you can drink all evening without falling over…hopefully.
Would I drink it again? – Certainly, if I can afford it.