Beer Safari – exploring beer in a day

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The best day out in Suffolk for anyone who loves beer

If you know someone who loves beer, and is interested in exactly what makes different beer taste so distinct, then check out Beer Safari.

Run by husband and wife team Polly and Tim Robinson, Beer Safari is just one of many food and drink events from their company Food Safari.

I joined the Safari on a freezing February morning, but was soon warmed by the generous fire at The Anchor in Walberswick, our base for the day.

The morning was spent in The Anchor’s old dairy parlour, where we learnt about the beer making process from Colin West, who is an Executive Director of the Maltsters Association as well as a Master Brewer. Colin explained in detail all the elements that combine to create beer – water, malted barley, hops and yeast. I took 17 pages of notes at this point, so I won’t spoil the surprise for potential Safari-goers by going into detail here. However, you can be sure to learn all about milling, mashing, starch and sugars and stun all your friends by issuing technical-sounding words such as Isohumulones in a confident and knowledgeable manner.

Learning all about beer at The Anchor in Walberswick

Learning all about beer at The Anchor in Walberswick

Different grades of grist

Different grades of grist (crushed malt to make a mash)

Different malts produce widely different beers - as seen by this lovely colour spectrum

Different malts produce widely different beers - as seen by this lovely colour spectrum

After 3 hours of looking at different malts and learning all about beer, we had a well-earned break and a delicious lunch at The Anchor. As always, the food was superb. Mark Dorber, owner of The Anchor, is passionate about matching beer with food, so we were in for a real treat. We enjoyed Scheider Weisse, followed by Meantime’s Wheat Beer -enough to whet our appetites for a visit to a barley grower, just up the road at Wrentham.

Delicious lunch at The Anchor

Delicious lunch at The Anchor

Roger Middleditch heads up a family business growing not only barley, but also wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet, potatoes, asparagus, vining peas and spring beans. With his wife Gill, he’s diversified to include a Real Ale shop showcasing the best brews from Suffolk.

The Real Ale Shop at Priory Farm, Wrentham

The Real Ale Shop at Priory Farm, Wrentham

Roger led us across the road from the Real Ale shop into a field of barley, which looks like grass at this stage of the year. Sensibly, it only grows when the soil temperature is at 4 degrees or above, and judging by the arctic blasts that were getting through several layers of my clothing, the young barley was definitely in hibernation.

Roger Middleditch from Priory Farm with young winter-sown barley

Roger Middleditch from Priory Farm with young winter barley

Field of young barley in February, Priory Farm

Field of young barley in February, Priory Farm

From Wrentham, we headed south to Southwold, where we were met by Adnams Master Brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald. Fergus and Mark steeped some hop pellets in a series of cafétières, primarily, it seemed, to enjoy the pained expressions on our faces as we experienced just how bitter hops taste on their own, but also so that we could explore the huge variety of aromas and flavours that hops add to beer. A fascinating exercise.

Steeping hops in cafetieres

Steeping hops in cafetieres

Adnams Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald

Adnams Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald

We also tasted a range of malted barley – from smoked malt through to aromatic malt. Fergus went through the brewing process at Adnams, and explained the different styles of beer produced, before taking the group through the brewery and fermentation rooms.

Beer Safari in Adnams Brewery

Beer Safari in Adnams Brewery

Broad smiles were on many faces when we entered the brewery tasting rooms – one is a climate controlled cask room, where beer is tasted directly from cask, and the other is a warmer tasting room, also shared by Adnams Wine team, where bottled beers are sampled and selected brews are on tap.

Cask room at Adnams

Cask room at Adnams

From the heady atmosphere of the tasting room, I left the Safari to return to the Maltstore office, but the rest of the party went back to The Anchor for a sumptuous beer and food matching dinner to end a superb day.

The Beer Safari currently runs twice and year and costs £150 per person, including lunch and dinner. For more information on Beer Safari, or any of the other Food Safari events, please contact Polly Robinson.

Sarah Groves

Sarah Groves

Content Manager at Adnams
Sarah reports on all the goings-on at Adnams and is almost never seen without a camera of some description. With a background in earth science and wine, Sarah is fascinated by our natural environment and loves to be outdoors. As well as taking photographs for Adnams, writing stories, email design and looking after Adnams' website and online store, she still finds time to play tennis and enjoys an archaeological dig or two when she gets the chance!
Sarah Groves

@sarahEgroves

Rarely found without a camera or pen. Adnams Content Manager. Instagram: sarahegroves
Thanks for a brilliant afternoon @Bruizer! Here's my slo-mo version, not quite up to Phantom standard 😉 https://t.co/v2ZIFTmzjE - 13 hours ago
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