A visit to Adnams

Back in January, I found myself in Rumburgh, Suffolk, celebrating a friend’s 60th birthday. Realising that the lovely seaside resort of Southwold wasn’t far away, we thought it would be a good idea to fit in a tour of Adnams Brewery. Southwold is a rather pretty place, almost picture perfect to these jaded eyes more accustomed to the grime and unexpected nature of London life. In Southwold, you can expect to drink Adnams beer everywhere you go. The place runs on it, so it’s just as well they brew a great range. You can immerse yourself in it by booking a brewery tour, which ends with a session in the tasting room. Tours run pretty regularly although I’m sure they are very popular in full tourist season.

The Copperhouse

Our guide, Ross, took a group of us through the brewing process, including smelling hops and pellets. We were led around various brewery buildings and saw lots of shiny equipment, all of which Ross explained to us. What a top bloke! He was clearly passionate about beer and sharing the Adnams story with visitors. We also got to hear about Adnams spirits too. Ross also runs a micropub in Ipswich!

As we discovered, there is so much more to Adnams beers than Broadside and Ghost Ship. In the tasting room we sampled ten different beers. My favourite draught beers were cask Mosaic Pale Ale (4.1% ABV) and keg Ease Up IPA (4.6% ABV). In bottles, my favourites were Innovation IPA (6.7% ABV) and Tally Ho barley wine (7.2% ABV).

The sample room

After all the sampling, we were ready for a short walk to the well-stocked brewery shop for some supplies (Innovation IPA and gin, in case you are wondering). The shop can be visited without a tour, so if you just want the merchandise, that’s not a problem!

I strongly recommend you arrange an overnight stay in Southwold after your tour. Adnams have two hotels in town, the Crown in the High Street and the Swan in the Market Place. You can book them on-line. Another attraction is the iconic Grade II-listed lighthouse. By agreement with Trinity House, Adnams also run tours of that. That will however have to wait until our next visit to Southwold.

It was disappointing to read recently that Adnams, with its long history, is in financial difficulties. The timing of the launch of their product rebranding may be controversial but I hope it helps them with more positive brand exposure and market positioning. However, it’s clear that the whole beer industry is struggling right now, so who knows how things will stand by the time this review goes to print. Let’s support our local pubs and breweries. Cheers!
Maria Freeman