Wednesday, 12 May 2010

May is golden ale month

Last night when it was all kicking off I was in the pub, dumb, fat, happy and unaware of the change in the political situation. Early evening saw me at the doctor’s surgery for a routine blood pressure check. With my blood pressure fine and the doctor telling me to just keep taking the tablets I celebrate with a burger and chips plus two pints of ale. I apply a modicum of salt to the chips in a reckless attempt to live dangerously.

I know some real ale aficionados shun modern bars or pubs that are given bar-style makeovers but I don’t mind some of them. Nº 12, near Castle Mall (that’s mall that rhymes with pal, and not pronounced maul), Norwich appears to be an ex-pub that has been turned into a bar and restaurant. An ex-pub with a café feel; comfortable, clean but certainly not sterile. The food on offer was not your usual conveyor belt fare but popular ‘home-cooked’ alternatives. And very delicious ‘home-cooked’ food it is too. Real ale is also on offer. Two in fact. I chose not to bother with the Youngs.

Whilst a large proportion of the population were watching one of the losers in the election become first lord of the treasury I was enjoying two of the most wonderful pints of beer I’d had since oh… …um… …the last time I had a wonderful pint of beer.

Adnams Explorer is an ale I have had on numerous past occasions and always enjoyed. It must be almost a year though since I last had any. I don’t remember it being this marvellous. Perhaps my memory is going? Last night this was the most luscious golden ale in all of Christendom. This is the sort of beer that makes you want to strip stark-bollock naked and run through the streets shouting its praises. If it wasn’t unseasonably cold I word have bared all in the name of this fabulous ale. As I put the glass to my nose I breathe in a flowery light hoppy aroma. If Cumulonimbus was Humulus Lupulus clouds would smell like this. This is not a particularly bitter beer. It radiates light malt and hops, hops, hops. I imagine that it must have been brewed using golden barley malted on the heaving breast of a Lynda Bellingham look-a-like, with the purest dew collected from lemon balm leaves by angels, and steeped with a hessian and gossamer hop pillow. An email from Fergus, head brewer at Adnams, tells it how it really is:

"We made some changes to Explorer about 18 months ago to try and develop the aroma a bit more and in the last 6 months we have made a few more tweaks, partly due to moving to the new seasons Columbus hops, which I felt were a bit different so we adjusted the hop grist to use more Chinook and to use the Columbus even later in the boil. I think this has improved it a bit more. We dry hop Explorer, which means that it benefits from a little age but also means that the younger fresher version doesn't have the same pithy hop flavour which it develops with a few weeks in cask and as with any cask beer, how long it's been on will also change how it tastes.
Obviously I think it tastes great at any time of year but the sunshine always brings a new found appreciation of pint of golden beer."

Thanks Fergus. Adnams Explorer is my new favourite beer.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the great review, just one question, who is this Lynda Bellingham of which you speak?


Paul Garrard said...

Lynda Bellingham is the OXO mum, starred in Faith in the Future and has been in the stage version of
Calendar Girls:

RedNev said...

Lynda Bellingham's finest role was as the Inquisitor in the Doctor Who story, Trial Of A Time Lord.