Stu Gin tasting review

Ipswich Maritime Gin Festival Cruise on the Orwell Lady – Friday 24 August 2018

A Gin Tasting Review by Stuart Atkinson (a young 40 something)

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my wife and I and a few friends, joined Beer&Co’s Gin Festival Cruise on the Orwell Lady River Cruiser.

We’d all attended Beer&Co events before – Oktoberfest, Secret Beer Club, New Year’s Eve Hootenanny and their fab Beer Festivals so we knew we were in for a good night.

The Orwell Lady was moored just outside Cult Bar. We queued up not knowing what to expect with the other 50 or so fellow passengers all with at least one thing in common…. we wanted to taste the gin!

We sat on the top deck and had a fab view of the waterfront and the River Orwell. We were able to take in the sites and beautiful views as we cruised along the river but enough about the scenery…. we’d all come together to taste these fabulous gins and mixers presented by  Beer&Co.

We waited with anticipation for the loud speaker announcement that the bar was open and then we were off!

We started with an Eden Mill Oak Gin and Franklin and Son’s Pink Grapefruit and Hibiscus Tonic. It was fantastic! Prior to the night, like the great unwashed, I’d always drunk my gin with a straight tonic but this was off the scale! I’m a big fan of grapefruit, which probably helped but I really really enjoyed this. My wife who claimed to dislike gin, also agreed that this was really enjoyable and she could happily drink a few more…

Gin No. 2 was Sipsmith London Dry Gin and a Franklin & Son’s Tonic with a slice of lemon & thyme garnish. Once again, this was fab! Our host Greg said that we should be able to get a hint of spicy juniper with a zesty, citrus finish and you really could!

Gin No.3 was Eden Mill Hop Gin + Franklin & Son’s Tonic with a fresh rosemary garnish. Greg advised that by introducing Hops to the distilling process would create smooth, hoppy and fresh apricot notes balanced with a refreshing crisp bitterness.  It tasted good and our party were all agreed we were having a great night and that it made a welcome change to a trip to our local.

Gin No 4 was Bathtub Sloe Gin and Franklin & Son’s Natural Indian Tonic with a slice of fresh lime. This was an education for me as I’d never tasted Sloe Gin before. I think it tastes a bit like a cherry liqueur, like you get in liqueur chocolates at Christmas. I’m pleased I’ve tried it (and I finished it) but I probably won’t rush out to buy a bottle since I’ve been introduced to all these other amazing gins!

For Gin No. 5 we got to choose from all the gins we’d already tried. Without hesitation I went straight back to the Eden Mill Oak Gin and Franklin and Son’s Pink Grapefruit and Hibiscus Tonic, which was a lovely way to end my gin tasting experience.

If you thought about trying one of Beer&Co’s Gin tasting nights or any of their other events this year but never got round to it, I would definitely recommend them. It was a fantastic night! Our fellow passengers were made up of groups of friends, work mates and couples. Some people had bought the tickets themselves and others had been bought them as presents – Hint hint for the future loving wife and family!

Many thanks to everyone involved in making it such a fab night – the captain and crew of Orwell Lady River Cruises, our fellow gin tasters and finally, to Beer&Co for making it such a memorable evening…. especially my five gins!