Name – Lakeland Gold
Brewer – Hawkshead
Classification – Golden Ale. (Well, I ain't so sure about that. Read on...)
Strength – 4.4% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Brown challenges yellow in a fight to the death. Yellow lies bleeding.
On the nose – Metallic fruits. A nostril-tingling treat.
On the tongue – Strong, well selected hops win through, but fine malts do get their moment.
On the subject – Started in 2006, and having long since outgrown their first home, Hawkshead's unbridled success has already left them looking at further expansion.
On the market – Spreading availability, but local is still best. Try the brewery online.
On the whole – 7/10
For those who like their beer to be fiendishly bitter – this is lovely stuff.
It's got a no-nonsense sharp bitterness which literally demands your attention from the off.
It's got bags of hop-led character, and for a golden ale it has a surprising and lovely full bodied feel. Though, I do wonder how 'golden' this beer really is, when it looks to me more like a deep amber than a gold. In fact, if I'm to be slightly less diplomatic – its a heck of a closer to a shade of brown than a shade of yellow, and I think these things matter to the average punters stood scratching their heads at the pumps.
Anyway, whatever it is – its pretty darn good.
It is hop heavy, which is to be expected from a golden ale (even golden ales which aren't golden at all) but the precision engineered blend of hops is nothing short of magnificent, and there's enough of a malt presence to leave those who prefer the deeper flavour themes more than satisfied.
I'd reckon that more than two glasses of this might leave you reaching for the nearest desert menu or bag of sweets – so relentlessly sharp and intense is the bitterness at work here. It really is quite merciless.
But believe me, those two glasses would be among the best back-to-back beers you could ever hope to endure.
For us bitterness-junkies – that's exactly the kind of relentless punishment we live for.