McEwan’s IPA, McEwan’s India Pale Ale, McEwan’s Beer

McEwan’s IPA just isn’t

Beer Home / Vices Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

I don’t usually like Scottish beer. Or Scottish food. Scottish games. Scottish anything, really. But I am adventurous and usually willing to give anything a go, even if I have reservations. It was with that sort of thinking that I grabbed the six pack of McEwan’s India Pale Ale and hoped for the best.

It’s not the best. I wouldn’t really think it’s even an IPA. If they’d call it a bitter, which would be closer to the truth, it might improve things a bit. By calling it an IPA, it makes an acceptable, if unexceptional, bitter, and transforms it immediately into a poor India Pale.

Scottish beers tend to have some sort of smokiness about them I can’t really define. Maybe it’s all that burning peat finding its way into the beer. It’s probably just the malt, though. Wherever it comes from, it doesn’t add to my enjoyment of the beer. That’s about the only flavor in McEwan’s, though. It is weak and watery. A description that should never be used for any Scottish brew. With a thin body and only 4.7% alcohol, I can’t imagine a real Scot going for this beer.

This real American certainly doesn’t. There is no head. No bite from the hops. No tingle from the alcohol. There is no reason to pay import prices for this beer if you’re looking for an IPA. If you happen to be thirsting for a smoky bitter, rather on the soft side, then it could be considered. Otherwise, there are much better options.

Poured into a glass, the head is gone almost immediately. The only aroma is the smoky malt. It looks like a glass of iced tea, and doesn’t taste far from that. I wouldn’t really pair it with any food. Do yourself a favor and just have the tea instead. If you must have a beer to wash down the haggis and fried Mars bar, I suppose McEwan’s might do the trick. You wouldn’t want to ruin a decent beer while you’re trying to get that kind of stuff down anyway.

McEwan’s is one of the most readily available of Scottish beers in the US. You’d do well to look a little harder for something more true to form, though. It’s brewed by Scottish Courage out of Edinburgh. I can never make out what anyone from Edinburgh is ever talking about. The accent is impossibly thick. I suppose it’s possible they called it a bitter to begin with, but that was misunderstood and it mistakenly became an IPA. If you want to drink this stuff, think bitter going in. Ignore whatever you’ve come to believe a Scottish beer should be. If you think of a bog standard bitter -- with bog being the operative word -- you’d be much more likely to enjoy this beer. A good Scottish India Pale Ale it is not.

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