This isn’t really intended as a beer reviews blog, but I have to say I’ve been impressed recently by Hawkshead Lakeland Gold which has appeared on the shelves of my local Tesco (4.4% ABV, 500ml bottle). I’ve been critical in the past of the wave of insipid, floral “golden ales” such as the disappointing Young’s London Gold, but this is entirely different – a proper bitter bitter, with a powerful, flinty hoppiness overlying a robust malt base. It’s also more of a pale amber colour than truly golden. Definitely one worth looking out for. And no, they didn’t give me a free sample.
In contrast, from the same source I had a bottle of Coach House Cheshire Gold (4.1% ABV), described on the label as “a wonderful golden beer with a fresh citrus hop aroma and a refreshing pine lemon crispness.” This too was more amber than gold, but there the similarity ended. It was dull and muddy in taste, with poor head retention, and with a distinctly harsh note that almost seemed like an off flavour. I thought seriously about not finishing the glass, although in the end I forced it down. Coach House Brewery, set up by former Greenalls employees, has been going for many years, but I’ve never been much taken by their beers and this did nothing to change my opinion.