UK Revisited

Less than a week after I returned from Asheville, I packed the family up and we flew to London for the holidays. I got to brew another beer with Fergus Fitzgerald at Adnams in Southwold, this time an 8.5% Double IPA (California Style!) that will be dry-hopped with Centennial, Citra and Mosaic. This beer should be available in Wetherspoons pubs in mid-January.

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It’s become a tradition-my first beer after arriving in the UK is always a Fuller’s!


I love seeing historical brewing sites-this was in London.

I am very curious to see how people react to our beer, since the alcohol ¬†is much higher than what beer drinkers in Britain generally find acceptable. It’s an interesting point of difference between the US and UK beer drinking cultures. When having beer discussions with folks in the UK, the alcohol content is one of the first things always mentioned when describing a beer. ¬†Whereas, in the US, some of the first things we mention are the IBUs and/or hop varieties. It’s part of the culture in the UK to drink multiple pints in a session at a pub, so the alcohol content is kind of an important consideration, I get it. But it also sometimes seems a little extreme, like when we brewed our first beer for JD Wetherspoon back in 2008, a 7.2% IPA that many people wouldn’t even try because the alcohol was so high. I’m sure we’ll have people on both sides of the fence with this beer, and am looking forward to seeing any comments. I do think craft beer fans will really like this beer.


The recipe sheet for our Double IPA.


Mash-in complete. West Coast IPA!


This was the street our cottage was on. At the end of the street, turn right and you’re at the Adnams Brewery.


Cool historical poster at Adnams


Hop Dosing system at Adnams.


We mashed in at 5:00am, and so I got to get some shots of an amazing sunrise from the Southwold shoreline at about 8:00 am.

On Christmas Eve, we went back to London and spent 3 days there with the family. It was a great opportunity, the kids had never been out of the country before.


I have a lot of pictures of my son’s hand.


We took a Thames River Cruise on Christmas day, and saw this guy piloting an amphibious car.

London in the evening was beautiful:

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6 thoughts on “UK Revisited

  1. Thomas Molitor

    Nice pilgrimage to one of beer’s Meccas!
    Low vs high alcohol preference for Brits: Demand for low- and non-alcohol beers has soared in the UK. The increase is attributed to health-consciousness, drink-driving awareness, and a lower tax on low alcohol beers. Low alcohol beers are now cheaper than their alcoholic equivalents, thanks to a 50% cut in duty and a 50p reduced price on a pint of beer. The lower tax rewards beers at < 2.8% ABV! Mitch, did you have any discussions regarding the rise in the popularity of lower alcohol beers and, or, the lower tax implications on consumer demand?

    1. mitchsteele Post author

      I was unaware of that tax incentive, I can tell you that a beer with 2.8% abv would not sell in the states. I’ve had some decent beers at that low strength, but that’s too low for me in general. 3.5-4.5% is a great cask beer to me.

      1. Thomas Molitor

        On the discussion of English beer, often I open an import, say a Samuel Smith, and I smell and taste a skunkiness. Is this due to MBT? It’s logical that a beer that is imported and then transited to a state and then plopped onto a retail shelf could very well have been exposed to light.

      2. mitchsteele Post author

        Lots of English beers are packaged in clear glass bottles, and unless the brewer uses a chemically modified hop extract, the hop compounds will react with light and form the skunk compound.

  2. Steve Doane

    Hi Mitch

    The Stone Double IPA has just gone on at my local Wetherspoons and, thanks to a call from my son Liam (a barman at my local ‘Spoons), I went straight down to sample a couple of pints.

    I was introduced to Stone beers when you first brewed for Wetherspoons, the California Double IPA (7.0% abv), a few years ago – I still have the pumpclip! I have since then sampled several bottles of various Stone beers from Beers of Europe.

    Back to the Double IPA: I had two half pints in a pint glass (as Wetherspoons will only serve in halves). I could taste and feel the warmth from the alcohol which, as you have stated in a previous blog, at 8.6% is not an experience us Brits are particularly used to, but the hops also come through well and leave a great aftertaste. So had another pint! Nice to have the opportunity to drink a Stone beer through hand pull and I will be going back for another half or three tomorrow. Another great beer from Stone.

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