Beer of the Week – Broughton Old Jock

As it’s Friday again, let’s power up the spotlight and point it at another in my series of 52 unsung Scottish beers to try. There are so many amazing new things on offer north of the border, but whilst the brewing scene here continues to go from strength to strength it means the classics are worth seeking out more than ever. So with this weekly series I’m suggesting a beer every Friday to unearth and add to your drinking collection. Since kicking off with Fyne Ales Highlander and last week Swannay Old Norway, for the third instalment we are heading back south into the Scottish Borders.

If you look at the oldest breweries in Scotland that are still operating, there aren’t many on the list before you reach Broughton Ales. Belhaven, the Caledonian, the Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, Traquair House. And then, just on the cusp of the 1980’s, Broughton appeared. Co-founded by David Younger (of the brewing dynasty) and James Collins they have changed hands a couple of times, but their range of beers that feature characters of Scottish legend have remained. And in that range you’ll find one of the true unsung heroes – Broughton Old Jock.


3. Old Jock Ale
(6.7%)

Broughton Ales, Broughton, Scottish Borders
Style: Scotch/Red Ale
500 ml bottle

The concept of beer styles is a relatively recent arrival (in brewing terms), and it’s interesting that two of the first three of my weekly picks have straddled several of the more commonly-recognised styles. Just as Fyne’s Highlander is part bitter, part Scottish Export, Broughton’s Old Jock has elements of the Scotch Ale, a bit of the classic Red and more than a hint of barley wine about it. That’s proof that it’s not just modern craft beer that blurs the boundaries (as well as proof that styles are only really a guideline). Old Jock is a fantastic beer, and one that combines a depth of flavour with an inviting ruby colour unsurpassed by any other from a Scottish brewery – it has to be one of the best-looking I’ve ever seen.

The food pairing the guys at Broughton suggest for Old Jock is strong cheeses – and they aren’t kidding. This would stand up to anything you could throw at a port – the flavours of raisins and dark stone fruit, particularly plums, really make that a great suggestion. There’s a grainy bitterness around the edges, and a slight spice from the Bramling Cross and Perle hops (also in the brew is the quintessential English one-two-three of Challenger, Fuggles and First Gold). It has a sweetness about it, almost like candied oranges, but nothing comes across as cloying because there is a terrific balance going on. Old Jock is lovely, and should you see it in your local supermarket, walk past it at your peril.

Pick it up here:
At Broughton’s online shop (as a case of 8 500ml bottles)

Beer of the Week Series:
1. Fyne Ales Highlander
2. Swannay Old Norway

5 thoughts on “Beer of the Week – Broughton Old Jock”

  1. Fantastic piece on Old Jock – a few bottles will exit the shelves in my local T*s*o this afternoon !

  2. i’m really happy to find old jock listed in your favourite classics. definetely a distinctive taste. it was one of my first not commercial beers and I remember it with fondness. I’d dare to say almost an enlightment moment in my craft beer quest. cheers

  3. Walked past this one for years, maybe the labeling looks a bit foosty. Hit me for six when I eventually tried it. Outstanding.

  4. Really enjoying this series and yet again you’ve picked one of my favourites which is most definitely overlooked. Old Jock is simply a classic, one of the best beers you can buy in a supermarket. Most of Broughton’s other beers are great too, though their newer ones are not quite up there.

  5. A fine beer which I’ve enjoyed this week, though would only have occasionally. One of the few I might suggest should be in a smaller bottle. And at only £1.50 in Morrison’s, currently very much the connoisseur end of jakie juice.

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