Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Highland Challenge (Lighthouse)

Sometimes reviewing a beer is hard. Beer geek bloggers love to rave about the biggest, brashest and most obscure beers. If the beer spent 16 months aging in 16 different barrels, we want to try it. If the malts were hand picked by the brewmaster, the resulting brew must taste better. Rare cat shit coffee beans always produce a better beer.
No one gives a crap about the everyday beer. The lagers, mild ales and common pints are always sneered at. This is where the Highland Challenge come in. The Highland Challenge is not a flavour powerhouse, nor is it going to make you regret not buying two six packs. You are not going to line up for your allowable allotment. Take it for what it is: an 80 shilling Scottish ale.

If you look at the style, this not an exciting category. The word 'low' appears too many times to count in the BJCP style guidelines. Please don't confuse this with the familiar strong Scottish ale - a more exciting brew. The Highland is session like at 4.4% ABV. So what did the beer prick think? I get to use my favourite phrase in this review!

Disclaimer: This was a gift from the very nice people at Lighthouse Brewing - thanks Wade. However, a favourable review cannot be bought with a six pack of beer. If a keg of Switchback IPA were included, the answer might change.

Highland Challenge = 3/10

This beer might be considered boring. It is, from a certain point of view. The nose is faint of caramel, fruits and floral. Sniff reallyyyy hard and you can pick up a slight earthly/peaty smell. If you have a cold, it might not work. Each sip is a thin with a slight slick buttery mouthfeel. This is appropriate for the style - I love that phrase! A sessionable gulp is rewarded with a light fruitiness and mild caramel flavour. Then comes the medium linger of earth, butter and toast. It is all just a little bit sticky. That being said; I have gone through three beers while doing this review. I find myself wishing I had put the whole six pack in the fridge. While this may seem like an unfavourable review, it - in fact - is not. Most likely this is the secret favourite beer of a few people, perhaps supertasters. For those who like a sessionable low hop ale, this is the one.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content = -1 4.4%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (no fun artwork)


MacPelican's Scottish Ale

2 comments:

PeeCeeGee said...

Been reading your reviews for a little while and have a question: why do you consider low alcohol a negative?

I loved this beer last year, but then I am Scottish and it is really hard to find a good 80/- over here.

Ian Lloyd said...

I used to count low alcohol content as a negative. Below 5% -1, 5-6% 0 and above 6% +1. Now with the prevalence of session ales these ratings are detrimental. Should rethink, perhaps a low ABV with great flavour should score higher! It is a credit to packing great flavour in such limited alcohol.