The last beer encountered that boasted of Irish malts was Guinness’s Red Harvest, a too-tame quasi-stout that couldn’t commit to much of anything. Now from Revolution Brewing comes Adam’s Best Bitter, with a Sinn Fein president’s name to boot. Perhaps the brewery responsible for such flavor-bombs as E. NorMa Gene and Anti-Hero IPA could use these new grains more memorably?
Yes and no. Suitable for English bitter, Adam’s Best is very lightly carbonated and its 4.7% ABV is as close to standard bitter strength (i.e. weakness) as most American craft brewers will come. Unlike truly traditional bitter Adam’s is dispensed with nitrogen, which delivers a thick creamy head and an alluring cascade of bubbles down the sides of the glass. Combined with its rich amber color and capped by that opaque swathe of foam, Adam’s looks a winner by all accounts.
On the palate it has a medium light body, smooth and slight caramelized malts, and just a brush of earthy hops. Unfortunately, its serving method undermines these subtle qualities and leaves it rather drab overall. Nitrogen works wonders with beers that have enough fundamental strength to stand their ground—the blackened malt bitterness of dry Irish stouts being the quintessential example. Adam’s is much suppler overall and its gentle prickle of carbonation seems even milder when compared to the density of the head. Had the beer’s delicate fundamentals been given their natural space to work, it would have been a pleasant session ale. Served as it was, though, it’s more akin to leaving a tasteful wardrobe of flavors piled onshore and skinny-dipping into a mild mineral bath.
Served: On nitro tap (Revolution Taphouse, Chicago)