SA Gold is reviewed by Craig Heap.
Introduced in 2006, SA Gold is the most recent fixture in the Brains’ line-up and filled the golden-ale shaped hole in every Brains’ drinker’s life. You could say it was gold in colour, or maybe a bronze. Then again, SA Bronze sounds like a third place beer (which, in all fairness, it is, according to the 2011 Brewing Industry International Awards, where SA Gold claimed the Bronze medal in the Cask Ale category). Along with a burnished colour not unlike some sort of metal, SA Gold also comes with a free head of foam on every pint. If your pint doesn’t come with a fluffy, crisp white head, obtain a claim form from the bar and send it to Brains brewery who will rush you a replacement in the post.
The smell is of that classic Welsh ale range: rich, roasted malt and nuts; sweet maple, caramel, biscuits and even butter, underpinned by slight warmth. The mouthfeel is big and smooth and how I imagine chomping on a honeycomb oozing with honey might feel like. It crackles with flavour, giving out in taste what it presented in smell: lots of roast malt and biscuits, with nutmeg and cinnamon spice, and hints of chestnut and hazelnut. In the dying finish, it gives a mouthful of brown sugar.
The overall package is quite moreish and demands to be supped heartily. Flavoursome, inoffensive and easy-going – we Welsh may not make the most innovative or exciting beers, but we own session beers like no one else. You could drink SA Gold all day and not mind a bit.