This is the first, and much-anticipated on my part, ale from my Christmas present from my mother and her husband. Brewed locally to them, near Carlisle (Castle Douglas as it happens), by Sulwath. I started with this one for a Sunday lunch review simply because it bills itself as a lager rather than an ale, which I thought was something different. Mind you, there are no hops that I can find, so perhaps that's not unexpected. In that, however, I am struck by the fact that this is less, well, boring than the last one I had (Red Stripe click here) or the Steven's Point Lager that I've had, but elected not to review.
Maybe it's because it is from the Scottish Borders (in a historical and poetic sense, not Galashiels!) that it seems to do more than these, or maybe I have a soft-spot for all the wrong reasons, but I thought that Galloway Gold would go well with my meal of last night's takeaway. Oh, we know how to live here in the Towers!
Would ye like t'ken mair?
It's not a bad little number actually. As you can see above, it pours without much of a head to speak of with a nice copper colour. There is a fresh and yet spicy aroma to it and the carbonation seems less than heavy. It is artificial, be warned, but that doesn't really seem to be a bad thing. It is hard to tell if there's something added to this and the boomf that it came with does discuss the fact that the hops are grown in Herefordshire so perhaps there are some? If there are, they are too delicate to disassociate from the malt that exudes from this like some nectar, no, really, it's quite sweet. It's also a reasonably big hitter at 5% ABV so it definitely made its presence felt at lunch.
It stays heavy on the first sip, and there is a sweetness to that first touch by the tongue, before the malt comes roaring through all fiery and yeasty, so that you forget that this is just a lager and almost believe you're about to have a huge explosion of hops or else the heavy feeling of a stout. It does neither of course and remains resolutely based on the malt and the yeast throughout the roiling and snorting ride toward the aftertaste when one is left with a distinct impression that the rainy season has come to a particularly dry area of semi-desert or arid plain. In short, this is a belter of a thirst quencher and there's nowt wrong with that.
I was actually rather fond of this by the time I reached the end of the bottle and there is something of the spirit of an ale to the way that it works so that I never felt like I was selling out. It is certainly better than the sort of fayre one finds in the pubs for lager and much superior to the Red Stripe that has been reviewed here before. I am now looking forward to the rest of the ales that this came with a little bit more and that can't be a bad thing.
Best enjoyed on a lunch time with some simple food before you and an empty evening ahead. Make sure you've already been to Church so that you don't end up doing silly things at the Communion table and avoid going to town afterwards. Share with friends if you can and, if you can't, take your time and let it settle with you.