If you spent any time living in the East Midlands region of England as a real ale drinker in the last century, you'd have been familiar with Ruddles County. The beer was the best known of those brewed by the Ruddles Brewery in Leicestershire and, after ownership of Ruddles moved to ever bigger brewers, become one of the more widely available ales across the country, albeit with the recipe changing as the location at which it was brewed moved.
The original County was relatively high in alcohol for an English bitter as well as bolder in terms of malt character, and put English hop variety Bramling Cross front and centre. So, with Loch's County Ale registering just a tad under 5 percent ABV and putting Bramling Cross front and centre, there's a good chance we can guess where inspiration came from.
Loch's pours a deep amber with aromas that are sweet, biscuity and slightly bready. On the palate, there are flavours of toasted biscuit and caramel derived from the use of crystal malt, with any sweetness kept in check by an upfront and lasting bitterness and a light carbonation that creates a creamy texture. The hops are a thoroughly English affair, presenting earthy spices and some notes of tart berries that make it reminiscent of some English IPAs.
- English Amber Ale