For this beer review, I thought it time to try one the ales that is always readily available at Tesco: the proudly Scottish McEwan’s Champion Ale. Being one of those bottles that you have probably seen on the shelves, here is a photo of it to jog your memory…
Peering a little closer reveals some rather unusual characteristics. The first being the astonishing 7.3% volume. Compared to even strong ales out there, this quietly promises to be something else. And then there’s the references to it being award winning. Of what award exactly, we are never told. What we do know, is that McEwan’s are fairly confident about how much you’ll like it. You wouldn’t call it “the ultimate Scottish Ale” without at least some certainty on the issue.
Poured into a glass, this brew continued to surprise. With a hue darker than any ale I’ve yet seen, and a thick white head, this looks more like stout. Unexpectedly, there’s not much to smell. You can pick up on the barley and wheat, but not much else
About the flavour, the label boasts of its “intense”, “rich” “strong” flavour. “Sweet” and “fruity” also get a mention. Where it takes a risk, is in promising to be simultaneously “smooth” and “surprisingly easy to drink”. Have McEwan’s pulled off this feat? Or is it just beer label boasting?
I’m delighted to tell you that McEwan’s Champion Ale deserves its award. It also deserves a try from you. This is one of the best ales I’ve tried yet. The flavour is rich and strong. Yet somehow, it manages to also manage to be easy to drink. It also avoids the pitfall of many a delicious beer, by arriving in a suitably sized 500ml bottle. Together with it’s 7.3% volume, this is the perfect quantity.
On the debit side, I was hard pressed to detect any of the promised fruitiness. And the sweetness wasn’t quite enough to stop that familiar sour taste by the end of the glass.
Overall, this is truly outstanding and unlike any other ale out there (at least of the small number I’ve tried). Well worth a go.