Having recently sampled Loch Ness Brewery beers, it was time to sample beers from another famous Scottish loch – Loch Lomond. I purchased the canned beers from the Wee Beer Shop and the owner stated that some great beers are being released by this brewery. I subsequently bought one of their bottled beers from my local Aldi. They are a family-owned brewery that have been brewing since 2011 and last year won the 2017 CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Champion Beer of Scotland award! There is a good range of beers advertised on their website: I love the Scottish-inspired names of some of their brews, such as “West Highland Way” and “Bonnie and Blonde”. The three beers I sampled were “Oompa Lupulin”, “Out of Range” and “Southern Summit”.
Mandatory “Oompa Lupulin” Facts:
- Untappd Rating: 3.92 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 8%
- Style: Imperial IPA
- Serving: 440ml can
The can design is bright and full of colour, reflecting the aerial scenery of part of the loch. It pours a bright orange colour, which matches the orange-hue dominating the can. Scents of grapefruit and citrus arise from a mid-sized bright foam head. On sampling, the imperial IPA is super smooth and has huge citrus notes coming through from the Galaxy and Mosaic hops. Primary tastes are of grapefruit, lychee and orange. The beer is then rounded off with a punch – a bittersweet finish and a big hit of alcohol strength, which was certainly not going to go amiss at 8%! The alcohol strength isn’t overwhelming, just a gentle reminder at the end that this is a big IPA! After sampling, I remember that the owner of the Wee Beer Shop said that this brew “was fantastic” – I couldn’t agree more.
Rating: 4.25/5. “Oompa Lupulin” is one of the top 5 beers that I’ve had this year. I would definitely recommend it if you love strong, citrus-based IPAs.
Mandatory “Out of Range” Facts:
- Untappd Rating: 3.65 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 5.9%
- IBU: 35
- Style: New England IPA (NEIPA for short)
- Serving: 440ml can
A similar can design as “Oompa Lupulin”, though the primary colour is purple, which looks absolutely brilliant! A slightly darker beer poured from this can and I was really looking forward to it. Typically, an NEIPA is a hazy beer, which isn’t transparent when compared to lagers etc. “Out of Range” is certainly hazy! It smelled citrusy and the white foam head quickly settled and laced the upper rim of the Teku glass. It had a citrus start, but this faded away quickly. Having had lots of good NEIPAs recently, I was left feeling rather unsatisfied. It lacked the ‘hoppiness’ I’d grown accustomed to and tasted quite watery at the end of the drink. I might have had these beers the wrong way around – it certainly didn’t live up to the high expectations set by “Oompa Lupulin”.
Rating: 2.0/5. “Out of Range” didn’t even come close to its imperial IPA brother, but having spoken to the team, I found out that there is a new batch coming out… This will incorporate their very own strain of Vermont yeast – I will certainly be trying it as I feel that there is a lot of potential with this beer!
Mandatory “Southern Summit” Facts:
- Untappd Rating: 3.56 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 4%
- Style: American Pale Ale
- Serving: 500ml bottle
Expected to be the most divergent from the other two, as not only was this beer not an IPA, it was also served as a bottled version. The bottle design had an artistic painting of Loch Lomond, differing from the canned versions’ digital photography approach. The bottle was bright in colours, primarily light greens and blues. When poured, the beer was transparent, unlike the previous two. A modest white foam head was produced – the largest of the evening. The head was maintained throughout the majority of the time it took to drink. This beer was lighter in flavour and less complex than “Oompa Lupulin”, but that didn’t detract from overall enjoyment. It is easy-drinking and something that I could happily have glass after glass. Primary notes include a touch of citrus, a pinch of grapefruit and a subtle, crisp, bitter finish. A typical American pale ale and certainly one worth having again.
Rating: 2.75/5. “Southern Summit” is nothing outstanding, but is an easy-drinking, pleasant APA nonetheless. I think it’s a beer that should be kept in any Scottish beer-lovers’ fridge.
Overall a positive start for Dr Beer regarding Loch Lomond Brewery’s beers! I will certainly sample more as their creatively designed range increases and becomes more available in cans and bottles rather than just kegged beers!