In resplendent blue glass Adnams Spindrift speaks in the hushed tones of castaway shells and seaside pebbles, whispering “Drink me, drink me”.
What makes this beer so interesting is that every time it’s washed up in my shopping basket it’s a little bit different, never exactly the same. Citrus fruits from far away lands bounds out of one bottle; sea salt and black pepper dominate another; one is funky, overripe fruit laced with pithy, orange rind bitterness
Could the elegant blue bottle be responsible for these variations? Or is the spirit of spindrift captured metaphorically and literally – perhaps it really is the beerification of the sea whipping up all sorts of interesting flavours and chucking them over here, over there, over everywhere on the back of a force 8 gale?
Spindrift is less volatile, more elegant. Today’s bottle ebbs and flows between fruit, coast and flora: drinking it is to be washed up on a salty beach with a paraffin lamp, where over-ripe lychees fall from trees and seaweed and pepper and lemon juice make up the desert island meal. It’s laced with citrus and wheat influence, herbs and even a dash of honey perhaps. But crucially, the conbination of flavours don’t quite feel vibrant: it’s sun kissed, or perhaps in this case wind burnt.
If Spindrift is the daily bread of lazy coastal days I’d take it with outstretched arms, but it is for sure a beer to be drunk fresh, on a warm day; it’s a beer whose effervescence needs to be preserved in order to successfully quench thirst and conjure a far away sea breeze.
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I’d never heard of Daas beers until meeting the company via Twitter, perhaps because of my woeful knowledge of Belgian brewing styles. And I’m very glad I did find them.
Before I continue I should add that this Belgian-sized hole in my fairly universal appreciation of beer styles stems mainly from the fact that I’ve never really got on well with wheat style beers and many of the continental white and blonde beers.
Notable exceptions are Erdinger, which is pretty much unavoidable in the Leeds’ bars north of Briggate, (and to be fair which I reserve for nights out rather than drink at home). I occasionally used to sup Hoegarden at uni, a drink I shared almost exclusively with my friend Tyler, who introduced me to pairing it with a segment of lime. But neither of these or the other examples I’ve tried (pretty much exclusively well known brands) such as Duvel and Chimay have ever quite satisfied my palate as other styles do.
In Daas Blond and Witte there are two beers that touch on the styles that I don’t generally go for, bringing out their subtleties and developing something I quite like. They are both organic certified, one (Witte) is wheat based and the other (Blond) is made from 100% barley malt.
Daas Blonde is fruity, golden and sweet. I thought I detected zesty flavours – it tingled my tongue and I sensed a sweet and slightly spicy taste that flowed easily from bottle to throat. It really was a good, strong golden ale with clear Belgian influence that will tempt me to try more like this rather than put me off experimenting.
Bizarrely it’s supreme drinkability maybe what detracts from me wanting to call it a session beer: a session on this, as I find with many Belgian beers, tends to fill the stomach up a bit too quick (but then I probably shouldn’t be knocking back ‘World Cup’ glasses of Erdinger after midnight in Reform bar – this, I can tell you openly, is not a good strategy for longevity of bar room shenanigans!).
Daas Witte as, as you would expect, is dominated by it’s wheaty influence. It’s defining characteristics are crafted by this influence, and mixed against, again, more defined citrus flavours and spicy touches. The influence of wheat over malt in Belgian beers always perturbs me, I am clearly a British beer drinker reluctant to sacrifice on my malted barley. It’s hard for me to pass judgement on Daas Witte, as I just don’t have enough experience of it’s contemporaries to compare it too, but for a wheat beer I genuinely enjoyed it.
All in all I’ll definitely be drinking Daas Blond again, a great little number that widens my palate a little. I will also certainly try Daas Witte again, which I think has made me doubt my perceived dislike of wheat beer (maybe I just misunderstood all these years?!).
In fact, Daas’ Organic beers might just be my introduction to a world of new beers from just over the Channel, just as EIPA first tempted me into North American beers.
If you want to try it yourselves I believe Waitrose are to be stocking this in the imminent future (if not already), and the lovely folk at Daas will surely keep you better informed than I will if you talk to them on Twitter.