YET another Scottish ale. Yes, I know, you’re probably getting tired of every other review on my blog being of a Scottish beer. I’ll look at some bottles that aren’t from Scotland soon enough, but let’s see if this bottle can’t end on a high note. Bought from Tesco, this is a Traditional Scottish Ales Ltd bottle of Lomond Gold Organic Blonde Beer.
I’ll be honest with you. I thought that the brewery was called ‘Lomond’ and that ‘Traditional Scottish Ales’ was just a description. But that would be too easy. Instead it turns out that the brewer is called Traditional Scottish Ales Ltd, and that this bottle is called Lomond Gold. Is it only me who was flummoxed by this?
The front label has a big silhouette of what is presumably a Scottish loch. Loch Lomond perhaps? I happen to think the whole label looks a big like those from the Orkney Brewery. Have a look at their Northern Light and Dark Island to see what I mean.
The style of the text is something I like. The deliberately warn down typeface that looks as if it has come straight from the dark ages is a very effective. It gives the impression that ancient Scottish clans might have stopped to drink blonde ale, in-between fighting each other and the Vikings.
This label also has the highest billing yet for ‘Organic’. This is definitely the new trend in beers and ales. Especially as a selling point by the smaller breweries. It’s probably something that we’ll see a lot more of in the years to come. Also there, are the 500 millilitre quantity and the unremarkable 5% ABV.
Over on the other side of the bottle, it’s clear that they have chosen to keep things simple. No long paragraphs describing the history of the brewer or origins of this brew. Just a white background, black text and some gold here and there.
Very helpfully, they start the back label with ‘Tasting Notes’. These are always good fun, to see how near or far the drink actually is to them. The concise little sentence they give us is “Clean sharp and fresh tasting with a hint of citrus and a very satisfying aftertaste”. Sounds yummy.
Also warranting a emboldened line on the back label is the statement “Triple filtered for added purity”. Now that’s not something I’ve read on any other bottle. What are the benefits to filtering so many times? I’m admittedly a beer novice, so if you know, leave a comment at the end of this post.
Under the ‘Ingredients’ heading, the organic credentials are boosted further. Pure Scottish water. Organically grown malted barley and organically grown hops and yeast are all mentioned. The Organic Certification logo is on there. And that this bottle contains 2.5 of your UK units of alcohol. In case that is of any importance to you whatsoever.
Down below the barcode is the contact information. Which is interesting because it tells us that Traditional Scottish Ales Ltd are from Stirling. There’s a telephone helpline. And a web address, which at the time of writing, doesn’t work. Come on chaps. Get your website working before printing the address on the bottle. You’re bottles are being sold at Tesco now. If you care to try it yourself, you might or might not find it at www.traditionalscottishales.com. Changing it to a .co.uk gets things moving. So, you’ll find their website at www.traditionalscottishales.co.uk instead.
After being poured, the ale itself is non-descript. There’s hardly any head to speak of And the colour is a subdued shade of gold. The smell is quite good though. Split roughly 70-30 of malted barley and hops. A good smell for an ale, if you ask me.
A couple of gulps in, and I’m not sure what to make of the taste. There’s nothing that jumps out at you. It’s certainly not bad. But it is hard to figure out. This is going to take a few more gulps…
There’s a little bitterness in there. But not very much. If, like me, you don’t care for bitter, you won’t be too put off here. It’s quite clean and fresh in character. This isn’t a particularly big, heavy and daunting drink. Not too gassy either.
The aftertaste is hoppy and slightly sour. But not in a bad way. And yes, there are those hints citrus that were promised on the label. In fact, all the things promised on the label are present. Only not in the ways that I was expecting. The proportions and character of everything is different to what I was expecting. And arguably different to what the label led me to expect.
But is Lomond Gold any good? I’m sure that is it. It simply isn’t too my pernickety tastes. I’m finding it too ‘sharp’ in its bitterness. But then, that was what the label advertised. I’m sure that there will be lots of you out there, with your flat caps, pipes and walking sticks who adore the bitter and malty flavours of the ale world. The organic links will also be of great interest to the pro-museli brigade of Islington. It just isn’t for me.
This leaves me in a quandary for how to sum up Lomond Gold. Traditional Scottish Ales are a relatively new outfit. And I want to encourage new breweries. Lomond Gold will appeal to some people. But not me. I found it boring and lacking the character of the many other ales and beers out there. It does well with the clean and fresh taste and citrus hints. And that is to be applauded. But with so many awesome Scottish ales out there, this needs to try that bit harder to stand out.
Have you tried Lomond Gold? Or any others from Traditional Scottish Ales? If so, leave your thought below.
Or any other ideas, suggestions or insults for that matter.