A Ghost Ship in Southwold Bay

I've never sat inside at the Lord Nelson in Southwold. As a pub in a cul-de-sac by the sea, it feels right to be stood outside in the ebbing light as the rising tide tickles the beach beneath. A bloke will lose his footing on the kerb and spill bitter down his all-too-new fishermen's jumper, one that's only ever been close to the tilapia fillets at Waitrose. Someone's cousin will discover that pashmina isn't as warm as she thought. The chink of empty glasses on window ledges and pavements counterpoints the braying conversations.

Standing outside there last summer with Adnams' head brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald, we enjoyed a pint or two of what was then a seasonal special.  Ghost Ship had something about it that I just couldn't put my finger on at the time. Something greater than its ingredients. I'll let Fergus tell you about those:

My scribbled tasting notes from the next day had one word underlined: moreish. Yes, it used the hop du jour - Citra - but the aroma wasn't like snogging a bowl of fruit salad. Yes, there was rye crystal and Caramalt but they didn't stick sweetly in your clack. It really was moreish: it was a beer that stopped my inner geek from over-analysing and wanting to pester its brewer about fermentation statistics and... just have another one. To enjoy the balance.

Balance. Seen by some vociferous beer enthusiasts as A Bad Thing. By the ones who mistake balance for blandness. Well, I'm not sure I could spend all night excoriating my tastebuds with hop-bombs or coating them into a malty slumber. Whereas I'd have happily stood in the street for much longer, sipping on a pint that was just-so.

So I was sad to leave Southwold and that beer behind. It was brewed for a few more months more, but I never saw it again. Until now. Ghost Ship has been added to Adnams' permanent portfolio on cask and in bottle, one of which I've just been enjoying courtesy of the brewery. Out of the bottle, to be fair, I found it akin to a panoramic postcard; something that looked lovely and reminded you of a wonderful holiday experience but still lacked a certain dimension.

Maybe it's hard to recapture the spirit of alfresco drinking on a Southwold summer night when I'm sat in front of a laptop on a wet and windy May day, waiting for the bubbles to settle. Maybe I ought to pick up some of the minicasks, pull on some chunky knitwear and share the beer with my neighbours.

Maybe I've just worked out what I can contribute to the Jubilee street party...

Adnams beers can be bought online from their store, Cellar & Kitchen. And the video below is from the beer's recent relaunch. The building being projected onto is the brewery - and I've got to say, for a regional brewer this is stunning marketing.


  1. that would be stunning for any brewer, actually caused my spine to tingle. Good work Adnams! Poor show mr car driver!

  2. Cracking beer I agree. Glad to see it is back as a full time beer.

  3. Excellent stuff! Enjoyed a pint of Ghost Ship a couple of months ago; unfortunately haven't seen it around locally since. Really stunning effects on the video though.