Adnams Explorer recommends that it be served chilled, so I gave it a try. Explorer is a light coloured ale with a strong white head and a citrous aroma that’s redolent of elderflower and gratefruit. There’s a hint of burnt orange and toast about the flavour that starts out quite subtly, but blooms into a delightful richness and depth. To be honest, I’m not sure that my enjoyment was particularly enhanced by the chilling of the beer, but each to their own! It’s a beer that would work well on its own on a warm summer’s evening, or with a pizza or possibly fish.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect of Sole Star given its ABV of just 2.7%, but I think that I’m going to enjoy it rather more than I expected. The amber colour is not as light as the label led me to believe, and there’s a lively head that quickly settles. I don’t normally place a lot of store by the description of the ale printed on the label, but on this occasion it’s pretty accurate: the ale does have a floral aroma (though I personally can’t detect the promised citrus notes), and yes, there’s definitely a caramel flavour too. This is a very pleasant and satisfying beer made all the more enjoyable for knowing that it’s actually rather healthier than most ales that I review. It would go very well with almost any meal.
Gunhill is another beer from Adnams’ Sole Bay Brewery in Suffolk. My first impression was that it was a brown ale, but I can see now that the beer has settled in the glass that it’s a deep ruby red. On pouring, it has a lively head that thins but remains across the beer, and there’s a strong aroma of honey. The beer has a flavour of butter, dried fruit and a slight hint of lemon, and an ABV of 4.0%. Adnams has a great sustainability record, and I’m glad that by drinking this beer, I’m indirectly (through Adnams) making a contribution to the Prostate Cancer Charity.
My bottle of Adnams Ghost Ship had a cloudy, slightly orange colour with a head that slowly dissipates. It claims to be a ghostly pale ale, so maybe the colour is inspired by a movie called ‘The Fog’! If I’d been served a pint like this in a pub and it wasn’t a wheat beer, I’d probably ask for it to be replaced. The smell is fruity – maybe peaches and apricot, and the taste is far from unpleasant: a toasty malty flavour that’s well balanced with lemony flavours from the Citra hops. This 4.5% ABV pale ale would work well on a warm day with a ploughman’s lunch.
I’ve reviewed this beer once before, without reaching a firm view, so I thought that I’d have another go!
Adnams Lighthouse is a pale tea coloured ale with an almost creamy and fairly decent head. It’s hard to comment on the smell because it hardly has one, and there’s quite a long, hoppy after-taste, though not a lot of complexity to it. Lighthouse has an ABV of just 3.4%, so it’s designed as a light beer (I guess that the clue is in the name), and it is exactly what it says on the bottle. It claims to have been developed from Adnams’ award-winning Champion Pale Ale, by the Brewery of the Year 2011, though in my humble opinion, this is not a champion beer. Nothing much to object to, though that’s not the strongest of recommendations.
Adnams Broadside is a stong(ish) red-coloured ale with an ABV of 6.3%. It claims to commemorate the battle of Sole Bay, but I assume that if the sailors had had this to drink they would have stayed in the pub rather than go out to battle! It’s got a great complex malty flavour with undertones of marmite on toast (Love It!) and coffee. In fact it’s rather like a liquid breakfast. What’s not to like!