Tuesday 29 October 2013

Blonde Ambition

A nice surprise when I went into the Guest House in Southport last night was the sight of Samuel Adams Blonde Ambition on the bar. This is a real ale, 4.5% strength, produced by Shepherd Neame in collaboration with the American craft brewer, the Boston Beer Company. The website states that beer uses equal measures of American and British Cascade hops, with Yakima Valley Cascade, also from America. As you'd expect, it was fairly dry, golden-coloured ale which I found slipped down very easily, some might say too easily considering its strength. Judging by the way the hand pump was being hammered, quite a few other drinkers felt the same way. It has more character than some golden beers produced by regionals, such as the popular Thwaites Wainwright, a beer I like well enough but don't find exceptional; or Robinson's Dizzy Blonde, which borders on the bland.

I found it interesting that the term "craft beer" was unequivocally featured on a real ale pump clip: two fingers to those who wish to differentiate between real ale and craft beer. This beer also demonstrates that the stuffy old regionals can match the micros when they choose to. In July I briefly alluded to a similar co-operative venture between Adnams and the Firestone Walker Brewing Company of California. While the regionals' main money is still in producing the standard beers we associate with them - and it's easy to forget in our real ale bubble how popular those beers are - it's good that they're willing to give something different a try, and doing it so well too.


  1. I will look out for this one Nev, although I hope Sheps have done a better job on it than they have with Samuel Adams Boston Lager!

  2. Hope to see Sam Adams starting a cask program in the states. This is a very interesting development.

  3. I've had Robinson's Dizzy Blonde a few times. A lot of the time it's just a standard golden ale like you say Nev but there's one GBG pub in Stockport where it always seem particularly well-kept and ranks as one of my favourite pints.

  4. Paul, you're absolutely right. Sheps' Sam Adams lager is horrid. Thin, metallic and with an unmistakeable hint of Spitfire. Eurgh. Nothing like the real thing.

  5. I haven't come across the Boston Lager, but I hope that after my comments about Blonde Ambition that it's not a disappointment when you find it!


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