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Sole (Bay) traders

Adnams is one of those regional brewers that is proud of its roots in the local community, yet manages to have a significant presence in the wider world.  There can’t be many beer drinkers who don’t know of Adnams, and enjoy their beer – I certainly do – well, most of the time…  I recently had a little Adnams session at home, and partook of 3 of their bottled beers.  It wasn’t the first time I’d sampled these beers, but the first time I’d drunk them at the same session and was able to compare and contrast them.

East Green Carbon Neutral (4.3%) – this claims to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral beer – based on using local ingredients and minimum carbon impact techniques, plus “a tiny amount of offsetting”.  As for the beer itself, it’s a bit strange – no, very strange.  It smells and tastes of cabbage water – very peculiar.  It is bitter, but the weird bolied-greens taste overpowers everything else.  Could I just have got a bad bottle?  Well, I’ve tried it a couple of times and it has tasted the same each time – I just hope I don’t get used to it.  I hate to say this about a beer, especially one from a respected brewer like Adnams, but I don’t like it, and wouldn’t recommend it.  Interestingly, when I tried to find a link to some details about this beer, I discovered that the Adnams website doesn’t mention it.  Maybe they have got the message and have stopped producing it.  There are lots of websites with press releases, but you can Google them for yourself.

The Bitter Classic Beer (4.5%) – that’s more like it!  A lovely bitter beer, and a welcome relief after the East Green (I did manage to finish it – I never like to waste beer).  Not a strong smell – mildly malty – but a good bitter hit.  Very satisfying, and one of my favourite beers.

Broadside (6.3%) – a nice “pudding beer” to finish with.  I was unaware, until I read the bottle notes, that this beer commemorates the Battle of Sole Bay fought by the English against the Dutch in 1672 off the coast near Southwold.  Well, you learn something new every day, and if you can learn it while you’re drinking a decent beer, so much the better.  The bottle claims that this beer is “rich in fruit cake aromas, almonds and conserved fruits”.  It has a malty, fruity smell – sweet, plummy, succulent taste.  It is sweet, but there is an underlying bitterness and a bitter finish.  I’m not a great fan of strong sweet beers, but I found this very satisfying and very drinkable, and would definitely drink it again.

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