I spotted this non-descript looking craft beer upon the shelf of my local supermarket. It didn’t have an overly bright can design, nor did it have a quirky tagline to make me smile, and there weren’t the three beautiful letters of ‘I.P.A.’ (or occasionally four letters DIPA!) to make me pick it up. There were only three words on a humble can design – “Strathaven Ales Blonde”.
So why did I select it? This brewery is located only a few miles away from my childhood home, in the nearby village, Strathaven. Initially I couldn’t believe that I had stumbled across this craft brewery and had to check the brewery postcode on the back to confirm that it was from my neighbouring village. Looking on Strathaven Ales’ website, it was evident that the team are family orientated; it spans three different generations. This craft brewery resides in an old mill and uses traditional methods to create beer; this requires labour intensive processes for creating their beers. A main driver behind this extra effort is the company’s aim to produce a beer that has “character”. Having never had one of Strathaven’s Ales before, I eagerly placed this beer in my beer-fridge for later that evening.
Mandatory “Blonde” Facts:
- Untappd Rating: 2.98 (at time of writing)
- IBU: 22.4 (I’ve never seen an IBU described to a decimal place before, very specific!)
- ABV: 3.9%
- Style: Blonde
Blonde beers I typically synonymise with golden ales, similar to lager beers. As such, when I read the entire description on the can, I was surprised to see that it was made with a 50/50 blend of lager and wheat malts. On pouring, this produced an almost amber colour with a medium-sized white head. No huge scent arose from the beer, although this was hardly surprising for lager varieties. With the first mouthful, I was surprised to taste a wheat beer flavour, very atypical from the blonde/lager I was expecting, though it now makes sense reflecting on the malt mix! Other than the predominant wheat beer flavours – very savoury, there was little else to comment on and was reminded of a peaceful countryside. This doesn’t reflect negatively on the beer though, as the described flavour comes through in abundance.
Rating: 2.75/5. ‘Blonde’ by Strathaven Ales was nostalgic for me given the site of the brewery. I love knowing that it aims to produce beer using traditional techniques and I know that if I ever come across any of their other beers I will be picking one up, as it reminded me of my childhood days and driving in the countryside.
Where’s your nearest brewery? Comment or send me a message on which one it is!