There is no doubt that this drink is from Scotland. The bottle label features Scottish flags and a bearded man wearing tartan standing in front of a backdrop of hills. It is the most 'Scottish looking' bottle of beer that I have seen. It also tastes good with malt, cherry and caramel flavours.
Broughton Brewery was founded in 1979 in the village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders. It is Scotland's first microbrewery and their beers are named after characters from the Scottish Borders.
Old Jock comes from the term 'Jock' which was given to soldiers of the Highland and Lowland Regiments. These men were highly respected and known for their strength and valour in battle. It is likely that they would have enjoyed a strong ale, just like this one.
I have to admit that I don't go in for that Scottish twee look and the bottle label put me off buying this beer because I thought it was a touristy Scottish thing. The current design trend for craft beer labels is very much in the hipster camp, so Old Jock looks rather old fashioned in comparison. Now that I understand the story behind the bottle label I now quite like it. It conjures up an image of brave and heroic Scottish soldiers fighting against the odds, winning a battle and then relaxing with a strong ale.
This has a good combination of tastes. I get sweetness, malt, cherry and caramel. It is not too bitter and it is smooth. A lovely taste that you want to keep tasting. There is an interesting aftertaste that I can't quite put my finger on, toffee perhaps. It keeps you coming back for more. On the bottle it says 'savour this ale like a fine wine' and this is very appropriate as it is the taste you drink this for, not just something to get drunk on.
Don't be like me and let the label put you off (or perhaps you like the label). Give this a try, particularly if you are exploring the Scottish Borders.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.