Clear Brew

Adnams Spindrift, 5%

Four years ago Adnams launched a new chilled and filtered draught ale. It was described at the time as ‘a contemporary, speciality English beer’, but I doubt if many readers of these pages will have sampled it, unless they’ve discovered it in a bar that doesn’t serve cask beer.

Adnams SpindriftWhy, after all, would you choose a keg beer over cask, especially if Adnams cask ales are on sale alongside?

Well, it’s now time for the beer connoisseur to give this beer a second glance. Adnams has recently released Spindrift in bottled form in time for summer and I can confirm that during the recent warm weather it certainly hit the spot.

The first thing that strikes you about Spindrift is the quirky 330 ml bottle. The bright cobalt blue glass certainly stands out but I’m sure it’s not as good as brown glass at protecting the beer from lightstrike, so a mark down from me for style over substance there.

On the other hand, this is a beer that is targeted at a new audience for Adnams beers, drinkers that would not normally pick up a bottle of Broadside or Tally Ho – the same drinkers that, perhaps, would scan the keg fonts rather than the cask pumps in a pub – so I can understand the logic behind the novel presentation.

Once liberated from its gimmicky container, the beer – a touch stronger than the 4% draught version – pours bright golden into the glass. The aroma offers creamy pale malt topped with oily hop notes. The fruitiness is tropical in a very gentle sort of way and it’s a little bit sherbety, too.

It looks like it’s going to be a crisp, refreshing beer and the looks don’t lie. Silky pale malt sits at the heart of things but with sharp, sherbety hops (Boadicea and First Gold) layered on top, bringing fragrant lemon and light herbal notes to the palate.

The swallow is dry and then bitterness grows nicely in the finish as the hops develop further without ever becoming too aggressive.

This is a very well brewed, quenching beer (it also contains wheat) that, if served cold, would make a good alternative to a pilsner. And I think that is probably what the brewer intended.

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