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Hopefully summer is approaching so I can start to think seriously about beers that are suitable for sitting outside pubs on sunny afternoons. I am picturing something light, refreshing and tasty. The other afternoon I was doing more than just picture a pint of Adnams Explorer!
Adnams Brewery began life in 1857, when George and Ernest Adnams set up the business in Sole Bay, Southwold in Suffolk. Brewing had occurred on the site as early as 1396, but the present company became a public company much later in 1891. The brewery merged ownership with the Loftus family in 1901 and the business still has three members of this original duo of families working there today. As a company, Adnams are keen advocates of traditional pubs and cask conditioned beers, brewed using natural ingredients. Their beers can be found in almost 100 of their own pubs and also in pubs nationwide.
Some of their beers you may come across include Broadside (a rich fruity beer at 4.7% ABV), Adnams Regatta (a light and refreshing summer beer at 4.3% ABV) and Adnams Bitter (a classic dry hoppy bitter at 3.7% ABV).
***A Bit of Background***
Explorer was brewed after extensive research from the brewery. It is aimed at younger drinkers and it was also hoped that the light colour and fresh taste would make it appeal to women too. It is called Explorer because the hops used to brew it are from the New World. Using them combines traditional brewing methods with the contemporary flavours of American ingredients – the spirit of discovery and exploration!
To start with it was only brewed as a summer seasonal beer during the summer of 2004. Such was its success with the drinkers it became part of the Adnams permanent portfolio in February 2006.
Adnams Explorer weighs in at 4.3% ABV and is brewed using Columbus and Chinook hops – originally from the American Pacific North-west. The Columbus hops are used in the initial brewing stages and the Chinook are used later (they are used to dry-hop the beer – “To introduce hops to the wort after the boil. Dry hopping significantly increases the hops character of the aroma and flavor of the final beer without increasing the bitterness”) for aroma and extra flavour.
***Look, Aroma & Texture***
Explorer is a golden blonde beer with a fluffy reasonably long lasting off-white coloured head. The aroma is fruity and fresh and primarily of grapefruit and banana, with a background scent of biscuity, caramelly (perhaps toffee) malt. This combines with hints of lime and a faint sweet honey smell. Texture is lightly carbonated and fresh on the palate.
***Tange’s Taste Test***
The overwhelming flavour you will get when drinking Explorer is citrus. Actually though the flavours are more complex than that. To start with you are hit with sweetness (honey I would say), which gives way to tart grapefruit, lemon and lime and a little bit of tropical fruit. This is balanced by a base flavour of biscuity malt. As you drink the beer becomes increasingly bitter, leading to a finish that is dry and an aftertaste that combines this bitterness with a light zesty citrus flavour.
~~~WHAT I THOUGHT.
As a light and refreshing beer on a summer’s day Adnams Explorer is an excellent choice. It is also a good drink to go with food – the light fresh flavours make it an ideal accompaniment to a meal; chicken or fish would be the best choices because any strong foods would drown out the taste. I’m not sure that Explorer works so well as a winter beer – the citrus, fruit and sweet honey flavours are pretty subtle and I don’t think there is enough body and character to stand up to the more robust beers you get as the weather gets colder.
I’m not saying it’s not tasty because it is; rather I am saying that it could be so much more. At 4.3% it has the potential to have more body and more character. It is nice to drink and I would drink it if I saw it as a choice at the bar – but more likely than not I would only do this when the weather was good and the temperature was high…and I would certainly enjoy it! This is just what I did while sitting outside the Portland Hotel, in Chesterfield, the other night!
This Wetherspoons pub in the town centre was serving Explorer as one of its guest beer range. It was warm (very warm actually) and a blonde citrus flavoured beer sounded very tempting indeed. It only cost me £1.59 a pint too! Wetherspoons are great on prices, so don’t expect it to be that cheap everywhere – upwards of £2.20 a pint is nearer the mark.
So I am kind of recommending Adnams Explorer. It is tasty, refreshing and is an appealing golden colour. Its intended target audience of younger people and non-beer drinking women (with the addition of lager drinkers perhaps) would probably drink it all year round, but there are lots of other better and tastier beers to turn my head...
A good summer ale…but maybe it should stay as just that!
~~~BREWERY DETAILS Adnams Brewery, Sole Bay Brewery, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6JW 01502 727200
Another one for my boyfriend, not me, very helpful review
susie191 20.06.2007 20:59
Blonde and fluffy hehe :o) xx
LegendaryMrDude 17.06.2007 11:37
I think I like this one, but can never remember if it's this or Fullers Discovery - they're usually next to each other on the shelves and seem to be aimed squarely at the same market. Good review. Sam.