“a Bitter Love Note” – Adnams Brewery Tour Review & More

This is not just a review of the Adnams brewery tour, their beers or their pubs but instead a little exploration into the tasty palace of memoires Adnams craft beer has built in my mind. Find out why I think Adnams make the best craft beer in the world and what being an avid fan of the brewery for the last four decades taught me as a chef.

The craft beer culinary epiphany that has shaped my pallet happened as I stood shivering in front of the Lord Nelson in Southwold on the 1st of Janurary of 1997. I had just partaken in a freezing north sea new years dip with my brothers and I still hadn’t warmed up. This was back in the day’s when I was too young to drink, too young even to go inside the pub, so my younger brother and I kicked our heels trying to warm up waiting for the rest of the family to return from the busy bar. Thanks to one of those bitter east Anglian cold winds, my hands were still a bit blue when one of my brothers friends shoved my first ever half pint of Adnams bitter into my hands. That bitters malty taste, mixed with the salty air and the hubbub of the pub still lingers in my mind today.

The memories of Adnams beers have since stacked themselves inside the many empty pint glasses of my mind. I think, Adnams beers are the best craft beers in the world thats why at the beginning of the year I dragged two of my best friends out to Southwold to finally do the brewery tour and learn more about them.

Our Family’s Love Affair with Adnams Craft Beer

Now, Adnams isn’t just any old brewery; it’s a Southwold legend, steeped in tradition. The sole bay brewery have been crafting some of the finest ales this side of the pond for 150 years. We’re talking classics like the iconic Adnams Bitter and the zesty Ghost Ship, the sort of brews that’ll warm your cockles and put a smile on your face quicker than a plate of fish and chips.

For me, Adnams is practically family. I’ve got memories of their beer stretching back to my nipper days, there’s a picture of me aged three pretending to sip from a pint of adnams at my dad’s 40th birthday. But even the most beloved family members can face tough times, and Adnams is no exception. With the last family member stepping down from the board, there’s a whisper of uncertainty in the air. We’ve seen too many good breweries swallowed up by soulless corporations, haven’t we? It’s enough to make a bloke choke on his bangers and mash.

Whatever the future holds for this brewery, the first thing I do when I get to Suffolk is grab myself a pint of Adnams. Discussing this with my brothers, it’s the same for them too and my Dad has memories of drinking Adnams that strech back to the 60’s when he tasted it fresh from the cask on his first visits to Suffolk.

Want to meet the brewers and get a tour around the Adnams brewery from the comfort of you couch, watch this awesome video!

A Review of the Adnams Brewery Tour

Brewer lead exclusive access to one of Britains most largest and technologically advanced craft breweries in the world, paired with tastings of most of the best craft beer breweries in the world. What’s not to love about this experience?

The Adnams Brewery Tour has been top of my list to do for a few years. My parents won an exclusive tour to the old brewery via the east anglia times and since then I have always wanted to visit. Over the years I have visited many craft beer breweries, I’m a self confessed beer geek and I love to learn about the kit and unique processes that make my fave brews. The Adnams Brewery was a delightful tour with an expert guide and myself and my two friends wholeheartedly enjoyed ourselves.

We started early on a Saturday morning so as I’m sure you can understand the crowd was not as lively as you may expect. The tour starts in their visitor center which is beutiful space that helps you understand the history of the brewery. After a short film and donning some wonderfully branded high viz jackets, we were taken into the wonderfully disguised brewery and finally to the tasting rooms. Here before lunch we had managed to taste our way through at least 12 if not more of Adnams amazing beers.

Without doubt this one of the slickest and best brewery tours I have ever done.

What I Learned as a Food Tour Guide Doing this Brewery Tour

Hopefully if any of the Adnams team end up reading this blog they will see this as constructive feedback, a development opportunity and not a nag.

As a chef and Food Tour Guide based in Paris, I feel like it is a little unfair for me to take food and brewery tours. However, I also believe that to become a better guide I should be spending some time doing food tours as an observer, learning. The notes I came away from this brewery tour was “why didn’t our guide ask more questions?” my friends with me on the tour agreed. The poor tour guide faced with a diverse group of beer fans set himself up for failure because he didn’t know who his audience were.

If the tour guide had asked more about our knowledge of the brewery, brewing, and our relationship with Adnams, it would have created a great way for everyone to get acquainted and provided him the chance to offer a personalized experience. Engaging guests with questions builds camaraderie and encourages connections, which everyone appreciates. I discovered there were both seasoned brewers and novices on the tour through my own inquiries and wish others had the same engaging experience.

How you can take the adnams brewery tour

If you are planning a trip to suffolk, or are a craft beer geek looking to head to the mecca of brewing in Southwold. I highly recommend taking this brewery tour. All you need to is head over to the Adnams.

Tour Costs £25 per person

I highly recommend you book in advance online

A picture taken of the brewery and our tour guide during our tour of adnams craft beer brewery tour in southwold

The Future of Adnams & Craft Beer

So if your an avid fan like me, you will know that the Adnams family brewery is both forward thinking and incredebly long term minded. I have always admired the way they have built their business with every end of the supply chain in mind, and when I’m in Suffolk, you can be sure I will be grabbing Adnams beer fed pork chops to go with my delicious pint of Bitter.

Changing Palates and Brewing Challenges

In today’s world, people are drinking less beer, especially bitters, as their palates become dulled by overly sweet brews. I believe that many modern drinkers struggle to distinguish between handcrafted, high-quality products and mass-produced supermarket offerings. This shift in taste preferences presents a significant challenge for traditional breweries like Adnams​.

Sure it’s great to be able to grab a super hazy IPA in your local Sainsburies, but if you really care about brewing

Adnams Ownership, Leadership & Financial Worries

Adnams, have been in the professional press far too often this year. While still primarily family-owned, Rising costs and and dropping sales means they face an uncertain future, see this article in The Drinks Business.

The increasing trend of corporate takeovers across the food and beverage sector prioritises profit over experience and taste. Rumours of an outright sale created a burning fear in my mind. I believe it will be a struggle in the next decade for Adnams to maintain its independence and continue its legacy of excellence in an industry dominated by profit-driven giants​​.

Keeping the Craft Alive

Thankfully, Adnams is a stubborn old bird, determined to keep the craft alive even in these changing times. They’ve spruced up their branding with a nod to the stunning Suffolk coastline, and their dedication to quality and innovation is top-notch. But let’s be honest, the brewing world is a tough old game these days, what with rising costs and the fickle tastes of the modern drinker.

It’s up to us fellow beer fans to ditch the pints of Peroni and Carling in favour of local craft brews.

What I have learned from Adnams; A Perspective on Consistency

As a chef, I know a thing or two about consistency, and Adnams has been a masterclass in brewing up the same high standards year after year. Just like in the kitchen, where every ingredient matters, Adnams has proven that dedication to quality is the secret sauce to weathering any storm.

I feel like I just have to taste a pint of Adnams bitter to remind myself that our focus as a chef should be to offer a consistent taste and experience to every client that tastes our wares.

A picture of my friends walking home towards the town of southwold after many pint of the best craft beer in the world

Raising a Glass to the Future

My biggest fear is that my the taste of my favourite pint will no longer be the same with all these changes afoot. I can’t bear to think that one of my favourite beers will change, like the Beavertown or Camden brewery brews did after their takeovers by the mega-corps that hold the beer world in their evil talons.

So, here’s to Adnams – may their pints continue to flow freely, and may their future be as bright as a summer’s day in Southwold. To all the beer aficionados and food lovers out there, let’s raise a glass to this British icon and make sure its legacy lives on for generations to come. Cheers!

And a Note to the Pint-Curious

If you’re looking for the best craft beer in the world, look no further than Adnams. Their dedication to quality and tradition makes them a top contender for the best craft beer brewery title. Give their brews a try; you won’t be disappointed.

👉🏻 More of our Craft Beer Blogs!

Chef Tris Portrait Eat Like The French! June 22, 2024
Food Tour Guide
From the bustling streets of Paris to the quiet moments at home, my journey is one of passion, resilience, and a deep love for French cuisine. As Chef Tris, my transformation from a culinary expert and tech recruiter to a local food tour guide in Paris has been a delicious turn of events, blending my professional skills with my personal story of renewal.
Adnams craft beer bottles through the ages, showing their history and why they are the best craft beer brewery in the world

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What makes a craft beer the best craft beer in the world?

    Best is such a subjective thing when it comes to what we put in our mouths and bellies. For me what makes Adnams the best craft beer in the world is it’s flavour, the memories associated to it and their constant ability to brew a delicious pint. This is a purely personal perspective, your best brewery may be not the same as mine. What makes it the best for me is the personal link I have to their beers and the fact they taste amazing.

  • Can you get Adnams craft beer in Paris?

    Yes, in fact there are several locations you can enjoy a pint of adnams. My favourite is The Freedom pub, just off the Champs-Élysées. Not only is this one of my favourite British pubs in Paris but it’s also the only place I can recommend for a pint near the Champs-Élysées.

  • Where can you get Adnams Beers?

    You can find Adnams beers at various locations, both online and in physical stores. Here are some options:
    Adnams Website: The most direct way to purchase Adnams beers is through their official website. They offer a variety of their beers, including Ghost Ship, Broadside, and Southwold Bitter, available in bottles, cans, and mini-kegs. They also have a range of seasonal and limited-edition brews​ Adnams PLC​.
    Local Stores and Pubs: Adnams beers are available in various pubs and beer shops, particularly across the UK. Their website also has a store locator feature to find the nearest place selling Adnams products.
    For me the best pint of Adnams is still at the Lord Nelson in Southwold.
    By supporting Adnams, you’re not just enjoying great beer; you’re also backing a brewery committed to sustainability and community values. Cheers to that!

  • Whats the best Adnams Beer?

    The best Adnams beer can be subjective as it depends on personal taste, but a few standout options are frequently praised by beer aficionados and critics alike:
    Adnams Ghost Ship: My go to session ale! This is perhaps Adnams’ most famous beer, often hailed as one of the best pale ales available. It is known for its citrus and biscuit flavors with a hint of tropical fruit, making it a refreshing and flavorful choice​​.
    Adnams Broadside: This strong ale has a rich, fruitcake aroma and a sweet, malty finish. It’s a favourite for those who appreciate a robust, full-bodied beer with deep flavours of malt and fruit​​.
    Adnams Southwold Bitter: A classic English bitter that has been enjoyed for generations. It’s praised for its balanced taste of malt and hops with a subtle caramel sweetness and a refreshing bitterness​​.
    Adnams Tally-Ho: A traditional English barley wine with a high ABV and rich, complex flavors of dried fruits, toffee, and a hint of spice. It’s often considered a treat for special occasions​​.

    Each of these beers has its own unique appeal, so the best one for you would depend on your personal taste preferences. If you enjoy a refreshing pale ale, Ghost Ship might be your go-to. If you prefer a strong, full-bodied ale, Broadside could be the best fit. For a classic English bitter experience, Southwold Bitter is a great choice, and for something rich and complex, Tally-Ho is an excellent option.

    Give them a taste and let me know which on you like best!

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