Donnington Brewery is a very traditional family run brewery based in rather idyllic surroundings in Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham. Brewing started in 1865 and they still use the same spring for water and even the original waterwheel is still in use. For many years only two beers were brewed regularly but, like many traditional outfits, in recent times they have gradually expanded their portfolio. Donnington Gold is now part of their core range.
Traditional brewing means traditional bottling, so no namby-pamby 330ml bottles here. It’s a solid 500ml and comes in at 4%. It’s a golden ale and, unlike some so-called golden ales, it actually did pour golden. Carbonation was good but the off-white head quickly dissolved to leave just a small covering film
The aroma was quite subtle with some biscuit malt and a slight sweet orange note. At first the beer seemed a little on the thin side but the flavour did come through on the second gulp. There’s a definite digestive buzz to it but some citrus there as well: a little orange and lemon that gently refreshes the palate. The finish is pleasantly dry but not too bitter as to alarm the unwary drinker.
Tyson says: Let’s be clear; this beer is unlikely to see the inside of a Hoxton hipster’s jam jar. However, it’s actually better than it first might appear. Well balanced in this case does not translate as ‘dull’. Rather it’s a quite pleasant, easy-drinking Best Bitter with just enough of an edge to justify itself.