Diageo have launched yet another new beer under Smithwicks brand. It’s a blonde and brings the number of draught Smithwick’s products to three. This is yet another salvo in macro-wars and follows on from the recent launch of the two beers under Guinness’ “Brewers Project” initiative.
The Smithwick’s name has a love/hate relationship with pub goers. A fair bit of the criticism may be unjust and there’s a fair bit of urban myths floating about about it. It shows the brand awareness for better or worse. So it’s interesting to see the company sticking with adding new brews to the lineup and not create a series of “crafty” mini-brands. Although people seem to be attracted by the “Pale Ale” and not the brand name so will it be a similar story with the Blonde?
It’s not a seasonal offering like the wine-gum packed Winter Spirit, which is back for a second year. Although there may be similarities with last summer’s release, Long Summer. This style of beer can blur the boundaries between lager and ale. Smithwick’s Blonde clearly has the likes of Clonmel 1650 in its crosshairs and is clearly hoped that it can replicate the success of Smithwicks Pale Ale in seeing seen off its challenger(s) like Caledonian Smooth.
So what’s it like? It pours extremely clear and is honey gold. It’s slightly deceptive as the beer looks more carbonated than it actually is. and is deceptive. There’s a slight floral aroma (although I have to admit that I tried this in a smoking area). It drinks smooth with a touch of hop bitterness. It’s bland and inoffensive, what else would we expect.
Who is the target market for this beer? Look past the craft beer enthusiast who’ll most likely go as far trying it to tick it off the list. It’s new and different so it might appeal to a few pub goers to give it a go. Hopefully they’ll go on to explore other beers.
Coincidentally, Guinness have introduced a new lager for the US market. This follows on from the disappointing Black Lager. It’s called Guinness Blonde but contains American hops, namely wiliamette and mosaic. It’s contract brewed by the City Brewing Company. Apparently more releases can be expected under what the Guinness people have called the “Discovery Series”.