Over the summer I was on vacation in London and took advantage of the opportunity to try as much English beer as was reasonable, especially the ales on cask. One of the more memorable bitters that I tried from the cask was Adnams Broadside bitter at the Seven Stars pub, near the Royal Courts of Justice. It was not only one of the tastiest cask ales that I had on my trip but also one of the freshest (when I tried it the first time). Even though it was starting to get stale when I visited the same pub the next day, it is not the fault of the brewer and Broadside is still a tasty beer.
Adnams is a brewery, located in Southwold, England, that strives to make beers for the “most discerning drinkers – drinkers who cherish individuality and seek out brands with personality and style.” Although, Adnams beer can be found in bottles and kegs, they claim that their specialty is beer from a cask. From the myriad of cask ales that I had on vacation, I would have to agree that they do cask ale very well.
Broadside is an award winning Extra Strong Bitter ale that was named after the “Battle of Sole Bay fought against the Dutch Republic in 1672 off the Southwold coast.” The Adnams brewmaster website says the following about the flavor of Broadside:
Rich in fruitcake aromas, almonds and conserved fruit. A wonderful balance of malt and hop flavours and a pint to savour. Brewed with Maris Otter mal, sourced locally to the brewery with the addition of two traditional English hop varieties.
Date Reviewed. August 11, 2009
Where I Found It. Seven Star Pub in London, England.
Serving Type. Served from the cask.
Appearance. Broadside has an off-white head with loose foamy bubbles and does not last very long but is likely due to the way it was poured/pulled. This beer has a beautiful red-brown ruby color and is crystal clear.
Smell. This beer has a sweet biscuit/amber aroma with a nice roasted malt accompaniment. It has a slight fruity hop bouquet, which is very subtle and goes very well malty sweet aroma.
Taste. Broadside has a distinct roasted and sweet malty flavor with a hint of vanilla or caramel. The bitterness in this beer is noticeable, in a good way, much more than some of the other bitters that I tried during my London trip. The hop bitterness is refreshing and balances very nicely with the malt sweetness. It reminds me of an American amber ale like Ballast Point Calico, or should that be the other way around.
Mouthfeel. This is a medium bodied beer with low carbonation. It is flavorful and not watery.
Drinkability. On a hot day this beer was not as thirst quenching as some of the lighter-flavored bitters. However, the deliciousness of this beer was a refreshing change of pace.
Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.
- Appearance (20%): 4.5
- Smell (20%): 4.0
- Taste (40%): 4.5
- Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
- Drinkability (10%): 4.5
- Overall: 4.35
- Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)
- Brewery: Adnams
- Alcohol by volume: 4.7%
- Hops: “two traditional English hop varieties”
- Malt: Maris Otter malt
- Beer Advocate rating: 3.95 (as of Nov. 12, 2009)
- Hywel’s Big Log – Beer Review: Sole Bay Brewery – Adnams Broadside Strong Original
- A Good Beer Blog – Adnams, Suffolk, England
- 97 Bottles – Broadside
- Beer Advocate – Adnams Broadside