Adnams, the regional British brewery based in Southwold, East Suffolk, will release a New England IPA this year, according to a recently published schedule. The NE IPA is part of a limited run of seasonally produced keg beers that will also include an Earl Grey tea-infused Lager and a cucumber sour. It will be available exclusively in kegs during April and May 2018 only.
WHY IT MATTERS
The 147-year-old Adnams is perhaps best known for its cask and bottled ales, such as Ghost Ship Pale Ale and Broadside Premium Bitter. This will be the East Coast (of the UK) brewery’s first foray into this particularly trendy beer style. But Adnams—and its brewing team, led by head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald—has never been one to shy away from trends. It released its Jack Brand Dry-Hopped Lager in 2013, and Ease Up Session IPA joining its lineup just a couple of years later.
“I think it was probably Heady Topper that got me interested in NE IPAs, although I didn't think of it as a different style when I first tasted it,” Fitzgerald tells GBH. “Ours will use Vermont yeast, although I'll probably blend with some of our house yeast. I'm hugely interested in the effect of yeast on dry-hopping, and this gives us the opportunity to try that out.”
Adnams is not the only “traditional” British brewer to dip its toe into the hazy waters of what has become craft’s most talked about style. Last year, Fuller’s also produced a riff on NE IPA in collaboration with Manchester’s Cloudwater. In the U.S., longtime craft stalwarts Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have recently added self-described hazy IPAs to their respective lineups.
Attempts by some older regional British brewers to find similar relevance in the modern marketplace have often come across as somewhat hackneyed in their efforts. But there are also those like Adnams, which seem able to respond both intelligently and maturely to an evolving beer market. This release may not generate the same fuss as, say, a Cloudwater can launch, but you can be certain plenty drinkers will be seeking out this beer for themselves. Whether they choose to Instagram it or not remains to be seen.
“l hope we do the style justice and people like it,” Fitzgerald tells GBH. “I'd like to brew an NE IPA that John Kimmich would be proud of.”