“ Brand: McEwans / Type: Ale „
While milling over the bottled beer range at Tesco's recently, I noticed a beer I had tried before - McEwan's No.1 Champion Ale.
Brewed by Caledonian Brewery, the people that have brought us such greats as XPA, Deuchers IPA, and the incredible Raspberry Fool, I thought I had to give this a go.
The first thing that strikes you is the strength; at 7.3% ABV this is a beer not to be taken lightly, excuse the pun. Once poured into a glass, the colour is dark with a medium, cream-coloured head. The aroma is slightly odd, hinting at caramel as well as subtle bursts of winter fruits such as grape and plum.
Once sipped, the sweet caramel flavour is evident, and with the firm malt manages to mask the high strength favourably, leaving a strong but not overwhelming alcohol taste. Toffee also comes through and accompnies the almost roased malt very well. The pint goes down so easily for me, and by the end I managed to detect a subtle hint of winter fruit which is apt for a winter beer.
Unlike certain winter beers, this does not have that sticky, almost stale aftertaste. Of course as such a strong beer, you can only have so many before it starts to kick in, so drink with caution! This beer won the tesco 1997 beer challenge, hence its name, one I believe is rather deserved.
I was scouring the supermarket to find my beloved hobgoblin ale and it wasnt there they had run out i couldn believe it i had just finished work and needed a quick fix of real ale i just didnt know which one to pick so i chose one which was strong and dark. I saw champion ale on a offer of 3 for £4 so i just picked up 2 of them and 1 banana bread beer . I got home and put my feet up and opened the bottle of champion and took my first sip and it was really delightfull really strong ale with also a kick which really makes u notice the different blend of flavours. i have since been trying a lot of different ales but i have to say not many do compete with the dark rich taste of the champion ale of mcewans. I would recommend this to all real ale fans
"Aye McEwan's, the best buy in beer." So sang the Laughing Cavalier. What? You don't know what I'm talking about? Didn't you watch those Scottish TV ads for McEwan's beer in the sixties? Obviously not. Oh well, we'll scrub that beginning and start again. It all started in 1856 when William McEwan built the Fountain Brewery, not single-handed, I hasten to add. He was very successful and by 1900 commanded the largest share of the Scottish market, 90% of beer sales in North-East England, and a strong export trade within the then British Empire. In 1931, McEwan's merged George Younger's company to form Scottish Brewers Ltd and, in 1960, the company merged again with the Newcastle brewery to form Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd. After further acquisitions, it now forms part of the giant Scottish Courage group, the largest brewer in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe. Today the Fountain Brewery, in the Fountainbridge district of Edinburgh, is one of seven operated by Scottish & Newcastle in the UK and Ireland and has an annual capacity of 2 million barrels. They produces a range of well-known brands such as McEwans Export, 70/-, 80/-, 90/- and Lager, Tartan Special, Kestrel Lager, Gillespies Stout and Youngers. -----------------------INTERLUDE---------------------------- Two guys are sat at the bar. The first one says, "My wife should be on the plane by now." "Sounds nice" the other replied, "Where's she going?" "Nowhere" says the first, "She's fitting a new bedroom door!" That was a bit quick (now where have I heard that before?), better give you another..... A Scotsman was visiting a friend in Canada. Soon after the he arrived, he glanced out the window to see a huge beast just outside. He pointed at it, and asked his Canadian friend, "Here sir, whit's that
?" The Canadian replied, "Oh, that's a moose." The Scotsman stared in disbelief, and replied, "That's a moose?! Jings. Let's hope that thur's nae cats aboot!" ------------------------------------------------------------ Back to the beer..... THEY SAY: "This award winning ale beat the cream of the world's brewers in a recent international best Beer challenge. Over 100 Beers were no match for McEwan's Champion Ale. Brimming with character, it's strong and yet surprisingly easy to drink." • The Pour • No1 pours to a lovely, dark and deep, ruby-red - almost black colour - with quite a dense, slightly off-white head that fades a bit too quickly but still leaves rings of lace around the glass. The aroma is creamy and malty, with a lot of vine-fruit and hints of molasses. Predominantly malty, there's not a lot of evidence of hops on the nose at all. • The Taste • It has a rather suprisingly light mouthfeel for a winter ale - which essentially is what it is - with a strong caramel feel, hints of chocolate and a firm raisin-like fruitiness. There is a very faint floral note from the hops but this is more in the way of a balancing act with the very rich malt flavours. There is the slightest woody, smoky hint before a fruity, almost sweet sherry-like finish. The aftertaste has a bit of a warming, alcohol burn, it's not unpleasant but it's just a little unsubtle. • The Verdict • At 7.3% ABV, this is a nice sipping beer who's malty sweetness belies the alcoholic strength. I found it just a little too sweet and a little bit 'nippy' to mark it down as a favourite, but it's not bad for an occasional sampling. It reminds me a great deal of McEwan's Scotch Ale, but maybe not quite as good. Too heavy to compliment many dishes, it would probably go
well with a dessert, or perhaps after a meal. Ideally, it's one to savour gently on a long winter evening. This beer retails in Asda at £1.55 for a 500ml bottle, or 4 for a fiver. Would I drink it again? - I expect I probably would. Thanks for reading, Sláinte ©proxam2003
Coming out for a drink, anyone? Oh, go on. Please? OK, then. Next time it's your round, I'm on doubles. Tough. I'll stay in then. Lucky I bought some in then, isn't it. So here we are again, me having a beer and you reading about it. Seem to have been there before a few times. I do believe it's somewhat customary to have a drink in the evening in some quarters and to all those out there enjoying one at this moment, cheers! Maybe one day I'll even do one on shorts as I know there are a few people out there who enjoy those too. I quite like a whiskey actually. Notice I said whiskey; that's the Irish version. Nothing at all wrong with the Scottish variety except that tonight I'm drinking a different kind of scotch (is that right? It is lower case isn't it? Keith'll know), McEwans No1 Champion Ale. Now, before I get into this, an apology. I love beer but beer for some reason is kinda out of sorts with me. It used to take me all evening at a leisurely pace to attain the necessary comfort zone. Of late, this state has been usually rendered by the gentle sipping of a single 500ml bottle of medium strength ale. I fear tonight though. This stuff is a skull-fracturing 7.3% alcohol by volume. That's near brain death after two bottles and I'm that mood.The things I put myself through just to earn a few pennies. Plus I've got Mature Cheddar and Burgundy kettle chips (oh yes) courtesy of Mr Atwall's nice mini-mart at half price as they're over due date, mate. Want some? He's a good man to know in a crisp crisis. Heavens, I'm waffling. What's the beer like? Hey, it's actually really good. As you'd expect from McEwans, it smells of pubs. That's not as daft as it seems but this is a strong beer, very very malty too. Even a bit fruity although I'm damned if I can tell which ones. Nice ones, though. Eh, don't get your train of thought here? OK it's a bit
convoluted but here goes. I'm a lilley-livered southerner, although I love Scotland, really; yes, I've been there several times and even reckon I've got Scots antecedents somewhere, honest, so you'll understand that I think all Scots (or at least a fairly large majority) like a wee one or seven. McEwans is an upmarket Tennants to us and it was about the only Scottish beer apart from Tennants and Special Brew that we knew down here. (So Special Brew isn't Scottish? So how come everyone that drinks it down here speaks with a Scottish accent then? Or sound like they do) I'm drifting again; er...pubs. Yes. So the authentic taste and smell of Scotland is the concentrated aroma of McEwans 80/- or something like that soaking into bar tops. Ergo - McEwans and pubs inextricably linked in my mind. Ok, I've lost it. I apologise for that paragraph. It was totally unnecessary. I did say this was strong, didn't I? It's very dark too. Almost black until you hold it up to the light and see that it's actually a very beautiful dark red. I love red. Hate pink but I love red. Some people have pink phones! Ha! Pour it out and it does give a very nice and foamy head, almost like a cask conditioned ale. Yes, OK. I've just read what I've written but I'm leaving it in. Just turn Netnanny off. For a strong beer, which it is folks - just reminding you, ok, it is very drinkable. Not too treacly like some winter warmers are. Which they can be, can't they. You go in and expect to have a couple but it proves too much because it's like trying to drink that stuff they put on flat roofs to stop the rain getting in and comes in black shiny chunks until they melt it. Sometimes winter warmers smell like that stuff too. As you can tell, this is pretty innocuous stuff and I feel I could very easily handle several bottles. It's a champion beer too y'know. Well it won a competition at Tescos in 1997 apparently. Beat all-comers.
Probably got into a fight with them and won by default because it was the only one standing at the end by virtue of the fact it was propped up against a lamp-post asking anyone passing to "Go on, hit me there. Solid as a rock, that is. Wha'ya mean psssssd? Fa'yaa" Oh, go on then. I'll have another one. And I'll post this before I get tempted to edit it and it turns out total nonsense. In short - very strong, very dark, quite tasty, too damned drinkable and at the moment, on special offer in Morrisons. He he, I've got another bottle as well. Go here http://www.bottledbeer.co.uk/beer.asp?beerid=374 for a load of onanistic twaddle from a beer drinker trying to be articulate about chocolate and loganberries.
McEwans Champion No.1 Ale is without a doubt the most excellent ale I have ever tried! If you really like fizzy lager then never try McEwans Champion because you'll never want to touch lager again. It's very strong for an ale, 7.8 % if I remember rightly, but tangy, hoppy, smooth and packed full of flavour. Goes down a treat but you can't drink a lot of it because it does tend to make you fall over. It smells strong but not in a Special Brew kind of way (i.e. vomit!)
ABV: 7.3%. Volume: 550 ml.