I have an album in my Google Photo's account for photos of beer. Its split up into a couple of different sections - the main bulk of the photos in one, beers I really enjoyed in another and finally one for the dreaded crap beers. I guess it shouldn't be such a surprise that I have a set up like this, seeing as how I've created a website dedicated to beer. I like beer, is pretty much what I'm saying.
In these albums are hundreds (not an exaggeration) of photos of beer bottles, cans and pint glasses. Some of them I remember drinking, some of them I don't (either because of my crap memory, or because of intoxication - but mainly because of intoxication). One of the photos in 'Good Beers' (I'm not very good at naming things) is Adnams Broadside. I remember buying it months ago - maybe longer - from Waitrose (don't judge me - they have a superb beer section and they only judge my scruffy appearance slightly, before the empty my bank account at the checkout).
I don't really remember drinking it. It must've been good though, for me to add it to the 'Good Beer' section. Beers don't get added to that section lightly. It's the Premier League of beers. To get there, you need to go through a rigorous testing process by going through me. If I approve, you're in. Simple as that.
There aren't many in this folder just now - maybe a dozen or so. I drink a lot of beer, but a lot of it is piss. So, it was after looking at this list recently that I - after returning to Waitrose (my bank account felt a bit heavy this month) - decided I should really buy another bottle to see if it really was worthy of its place in 'The List'. After paying Dick Turpin at the till, I went home and drank said bottle post haste. And, I'm happy to report, it was pretty good.
That's all folks, you can go home. All done here. What? The review needs more detail? Oh for fu...
I suppose I can milk this for another few parapgraphs. Let's see...
The Battle of Solebay was fought on May 28th 1672, between the Netherlands and - honest to God, shock-horror here - an alliance between England and France. There must've been some serious cash at risk here or something, or at the very least, cheese, for both sides to team up. Its usually 'England vs everyone else' when you read these historical accounts. Anyway, I digress...
The battle itself was fought in the Solebay, which is near Southwold in Suffolk, on the east coast of England. According to my research (i.e Wikipedia), the battle ended 'inconclusively'. About 168 ships and 55,000 men were involved in the battle and at the end, 2 ships (yep, two) were destroyed and 3800 men were dead.
Now, I don't claim to be an expert on naval warfare. I've seen Captain Blood and as far as I can tell, it all just involves looking handsome and sporting some fantastic tights. But what I can gleam from my limited knowledge, is that its usually the bigger, well known battles that are immortilized somehow. Trafalgar (as its known to its friends) has some stuff named after it, as that last link shows. The Battle of Midway was also a pretty big deal and even has its own movie starring Charlton Heston no less. The Battle of Solebay though? An indecisive battle fought 300-odd years ago? Is it a big deal to anyone other than the poor bastards that died during it?
Well, Adnams Brewery clearly think so. And if they can use such an inconsequential (as far as I can tell!) battle as their inspiration to make such a good beer, then who am I to argue? I once had a fight in a nightclub in Balloch - if Adnams are able to make such a good beer for a battle where 2 ships were sunk, then the beer brewed to commemorate my epic fight should win all the awards. If they get in touch, I'll be only happy to sell them the rights - 'The Battle of Nightingales Beer' has a certain ring to it.
But back to the beer (might as well, I've still got a couple of paragraphs of rambling left in me). Pouring dark and ruby, it has a certain fruity character to it. Taking a sip, I get a kind of apple/cider kick on my tongue - the sort of tartness you get from a good cider. Its after this that you get a big malt hit, with a treacly sweetness and an almost spirit like aftertaste (I can't decide if its rum or brandy). The bottle mentions 'fruitcake flavours' and I can definitely identify with that - its like if someone got your grannys Christmas cake and somehow blitzed that up and made it into a beer. All that malty, fruity, boozy goodness, packaged in a bottle with a picture of a boat on it, like Popeyes wet dream.
I can definitely see me buying this beer again, hopefully not from Waitrose though. And despite the Christmas connotation I gave to it earlier, I could drink it at any time of the year. This is a really tasty tipple.
So Adnams has used a battle that no-one has heard of before as the inspiration for this excellent beer - who cares? Not me, that's for sure. Broadside has earned its place in my 'Good Beer' album once again. Yo-ho-ho.