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Adnams May Day 2014

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Adnams May Day pump clip imageThe May Day Bank Holiday is nearly here again, last time I looked up it was February! May Day is a celebration of springtime and the returning fertility of the land, although for most of us now it’s a tentative, hopeful celebration of being able to stand in a beer garden again without the aid of a storm shelter. Every April we tweak the Adnams May Day recipe a little bit, keeping the same basic recipe but allowing for the fact a full year has passed since the last time it was brewed, and in that time the new season's crop of grain and hops have come into play. So we make little tweaks to try and make sure the beer we last tasted 12 months ago comes out the same this year and we hope our memory of how it tasted is as good as we think it is. Or maybe we don’t, maybe we subconsciously tweak it a bit to make it subtly different because we want to use a little of a hop that we think is tasting really great this year. Or, maybe we tasted something in the last 12 months that we thought would improve May Day and move the balance of the beer a little, or maybe we brewed it exactly the same as last year and maybe it comes out a bit different all on its own... As beer ages the flavours change, so even if you kept a mini cask from last year (please don’t do this, they should only be kept for two months) you can never accurately compare last year's beer to this. [caption id="attachment_14544" align="alignright" width="240"]Adnams Brewery April 2014 Adnams Brewery, 23rd April 2014[/caption] We measure various things like sweetness, alcohol, bitterness and the pH, but in the end, even for beers we brew every week, we rely on the taste and our own individual perception of that taste to compare. When we’re dealing with a beer we haven’t brewed for a year we also need to factor in the accuracy of our memory of that taste and the fact our palate may well have changed in that time. This year Dan got to tweak the recipe. The base is still East Anglian malted barley but he’s upped the wheat a touch and charged up the hops using Sovereign, Sterling and Wakatu. The beer is still recognisably May Day, with its great balance of juicy pale ale malt and an underlying bitterness, but maybe this year's has a little bit more spicy wheat character and a touch of banana and soft apricots, or maybe not, maybe its just May Day. p.s Did you know the Anglo Saxon word for May, 'Thrimilce',  means the ‘the month of three milkings’? Don’t say this isn’t educational...   Adnams May Day is available in cask in selected outlets and in 5L mini-casks online and in store.


Fergus Fitzgerald