Adnams Brewery and Distillery
We stayed in Suffolk with some friends and they suggested we should all visit Adnams Brewery and Distillery and book places on their tours.
Adnams is a name I was familiar with, I have seen their beers stocked in supermarkets. My friend who is local to Suffolk tells me that the Adnams name is very popular and you can get their products with ease in the county.
The brewery and distillery are located in Southwold, a charming town on the Suffolk coast. The town has a lot of history behind it as Southwold burnt to the ground in 1656, taking with it the town hall, the market place, over 200 houses and much more. The brewery was also destroyed in the fire. This was the first place in England to be declared a national disaster, and a relief fund was raised nationally to help rebuild the town.
Back to the tour itself. We were booked on to a lunchtime tour of the brewery, followed by a slightly later session touring the distillery.
After an introduction to the history of the brewery, including when the Adnam’s brothers took over the brewery in 1872, we were shown around the facilities themselves. The brewery, although very impressive, is still quite small scale in beer-brewing circles. I was amazed that one of the kettles held 72,000 pints of beer at any time and there were rows and rows of these, and this was considered small scale.
I won’t go into lots of detail about how the beer is made, as I don’t think I could do it justice without experiencing the tour yourself, but I would highly recommend the tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history, processes and was clearly very proud of the brand she worked for. She made the tour thoroughly interesting and enjoyable.
Towards the end of the tour, we were directed to a small purpose-build bar, where we could sample some of the beers. What I liked about the sampling is that our guide asked us which of the beers we would like to taste, as we had heard about a number of these during the tour and each had different ideas on what we might like. There were some that were not to my taste at all, but there were a number which I found very palatable. I really liked the beer called Innovation and another one called Wild Hop, which was described as a ‘community collaboration beer’. The beer was born out of a request to the local community to submit any hops they had growing in their gardens or on their lands and Adnams brewed this into this Wild Hop beer. It’s a beer which has been described as fresh tasting with lots of grass and spice on the aroma, earthy and crisp on the palate. I thought it was pretty delicious and what makes it so special is that we all know that the next brew won’t taste the same, as the variety of hops used could never be recreated.
The distillery tour took a similar vein in that it started with the history of the brewery and then tacked on the history of the distillery. The distillery is quite a new addition to Adnams, opening in 2010. The distillery has already made a number of ripples in the spirit world, winning the Vodka Trophy at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), just one year after winning the Gin Trophy. Although my personal favourite from the tasting was the Limoncello, which was utterly delicious.
We all found the day thoroughly enjoyable, really interesting and the tastings went down well too. We paid £22 for both tours (£12 for the brewery tour and £10 for the distillery tour) which included a 10% off voucher in the shop, as well as a voucher for a free bottle of your favourite beer. You can find out more on the Adnams website, but I would highly recommend visiting.