THE penultimate Scottish beer of this batch of Scottish beers from Tesco is Harviestoun‘s Schiehallion Lager Beer. After trying Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted a couple of weeks ago, I’m looking forward to Schiehallion. Even if it is a lager.
For the front label and bottle shape, Harviestoun have stuck to the same formula for Schiehallion as they did with Bitter & Twisted. There’s a clear and well designed roundel. An illustration, this time of mountains and clouds. An ABV of 4.8% which makes this a premium lager. Those tantalising words “Craft brewed in Alva, Scotland” and three clear bullet points about what to expect. That is to say; “Crisp”, “Dry” and “Airy”.
The rear label is also an example of restraint and class. And one that answers all the questions you have after seeing the front. The band across the middle gives us the pronunciation for “Schiehallion”. A name I thought was German. But is in fact pronounced “She-hal-i-on”. If you try saying it with a Scottish accent, it begins to make sense. And yet more sense when you read the description above it. It turns out that Scheihallion is the Scottish mountain of the front label illustration. And the inspiration for this apparently award-winning beer. What award it won, we’re not told.
The information doesn’t stop there however. This one mentions a type of hops that I’ve never seen mentioned on any other bottle. Has anyone ever heard of “Herbsbrücker Lager hops” before? How are they different? Answers in the comments please.
How Harviestoun describe Schiehallion is “crisp, dry and airy” and with a “fresh, grapefruit taste”. Sounds delicious. Let’s see if it actually is.
Other off bits of information on the label include the suggestion that Schiehallion is best straight from the fridge. And that this 500 millilitre bottle has 2.4 of your UK alcohol units. If you’re drinking this in another country, don’t worry about ignoring the “units” symbol. We ignore them too.
And it smells typically lagery as well. There’s no mistaking that waft of hops that you only get with lager. The smell that I think, isn’t as good as with ale.
Now the most important part. The taste. And the question of whether it matches the description on the label. Let’s test…
A couple of gulps down, and it’s tasting as much like lager as it looks and smells. That is to say, it’s utterly lagery. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by the number of quality ales I’ve been drinking lately, but all lagers are starting to seem as full-flavoured as an Alka-Seltzer. Or perhaps I’m being harsh on it. It’s not pretending to be anything other than a quality lager.
After you recover from the bitterness that accompanies all lagers, you can begin to appreciate it a little more. The quality does shine through in the drinkability. It’s not too gassy and easy to drink. And I can’t argue with the description of crisp, dry and airy. As for the promised citrus or grapefruit taste, I found it hard to identify. What dominated for me was watery hoppy bitterness. But that’s lager for you. If you know your lagers, you’ll probably be able to pick out exactly what the flavours are.
For me, Schiehallion was nice, refreshing lager. Was it special? I’m not sure if it truly did anything new. But it was a quality lager. And if you like lagers, you’ll probably like this one. If, like me, you’ve been enjoying beers and ales with fuller bodies than Vanessa Feltz, you’ll prefer something that mentions styrian goldings and fuggles on the label.
For these reasons, I’ve got to rate Schiehallion low. But it gains some marks for it’s obvious class among lagers. And if you like your lager, you can add a point or two yourself.
Agree or disagree with my rating?
Have you tried Schiehallion or any other Harviestoun brew?
Any recommendations of your own?
Or ideas of what I should review next?
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