Last Weekend: Enjoying the seaside spirit in Suffolk

Evaporation and condensation, the twin engines of cloud formation, are also the yin and yang of a trip to the English seaside – and last weekend in Southwold was no exception. Suffolk's inch-perfect rendition of a classic resort town stood resolute before a series of weather fronts that alternately bathed the coast in sunlight and drenched it with rain.

Nobody seemed to mind much. Admittedly, the set of bedraggled hippies I saw on South Green looked perplexed – perhaps they'd just realised that the Latitude Festival, held annually at nearby Henham Park, wasn't due to start for another five days. But the rest of us took advantage of the periodic downpours to leave the beach and enjoy Southwold's evocation of a bygone era, from the retro-chic boutiques along the High Street to the kitsch amusements of Southwold Pier. We marvelled at the model ships in the tiny Sailors' Reading Room; we chomped sandwiches at The Blue Lighthouse on East Street; and then we toasted the sun's return with Southwold's locally produced limoncello liqueur.

Yes, I thought that bit was odd. But it really was limoncello. Let me explain. Along with its devotion to a more refined style of seaside life, Southwold is best-known as the seat of Adnams' brewery, since 1872 a mainstay of the town. Adnams is everywhere. It welcomes you to Southwold with a sign at its Reydon distribution centre; its beers are served in its own pubs (The Lord Nelson and the Sole Bay Inn). It can even tuck you up at night at The Swan, the Adnams-operated hotel on the High Street, where I stayed.

Here the dining room is resplendent in crimson and gilt, and the floors of the much-expanded 17th-century building creak with age as you wander from floor to higgledy-piggledy floor. Everything about The Swan, and by extension Adnams, suggests that such longevity is the result of careful husbandry. In essence, it's all about the beer.

But last November the brewer upped the ante – and the alcohol content – with its new Copper House Distillery. The resulting gin and vodka has already won awards at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Lukasz Juszczak, the Polish-born restaurant manager of The Crown – another of Adnams' local concerns – took five of us on a tour, starting in the brewery, then moving on to the distillery itself, which contains what looks like a saxophone on steroids. Distillation happens in the huge "rectifying column", a long copper tube where liquids boil away as gas, and gas returns as liquid.

Lukasz explained Adnams' policy of "grain to glass" (the basis for the distilled alcohol is the same malted barley, wheat and oats used for the beer). Then he gave us a sniff of the "botanicals" – primarily juniper – used to give gin its flavour. Finally, to the cellar, where oak barrels gently impart flavour for the future production of malt whisky. "We've never done this before," said Lucasz. "But the signs are good."

The trip ended with a tasting session (the limoncello was a delight) at the sleek Cellar and Kitchen Store. Then the heavens opened once more.

Distillation is, of course, about evaporation and condensation: it all made sense.

Next weekend: The Swan (01502 722186; has doubles from £372.36 for two nights, including breakfast. Distillery tours can be booked through the website or on 01502 727255 (£10, over 18s only).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape