Thursday, 15 November 2012

Emperor of India

A decade or more ago, beers from the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh were a common sight in the off-trade. However, more recently they seem to have largely disappeared from view, at least around here, and when they do crop up they are often in unlikely outlets. This was the case on my latest visit to Home Bargains (no poncey Waitrose for me) where I came across 500ml bottles of Deuchar’s Imperial at a very reasonable £1.39.

It’s a 5.2% beer described on the bottle as “brewed to commemorate 21 years of Robert Deuchar’s Insirational Pale Ale being reborn at the Caledonian Brewery”. Indeed, it comes across very much as a big brother of the standard Deuchar’s IPA which is 4.4% in bottle.

In the 1990s, the cask version of Deuchar’s IPA became something of a cult beer, but as with many others seemed to become too popular for its own good and eventually appeared to lose a lot of its character. Whether this resulted from a dumbing-down of the recipe, or simply from being put into pubs that didn’t look after their beer well, is hard to say, but nowadays it’s certainly not a beer that would leap out at me from the bar.

The Imperial is fairly pale in colour, with good head retention. It has the unmistakeable Caledonian flavour, but within that taste palette is quite hoppy and well-attenuated. It is fairly light-bodied, so you could easily down more than one, but does have a noticeable alcohol kick

All Caledonian beers have a distinctive character with full, soft mouthfeel and notes of vanilla and butterscotch, which isn’t necessarily to everyone’s liking. But it certainly appeals to my tastebuds and surely it is a good thing that the products of a brewery have their own “signature”. Definitely a beer I will buy again if there’s any left in stock.

6 comments:

  1. The only Caledonian beer I enjoy is Double Dark. I'm not keen on the Caledonian taste, but each to their own.

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  2. A superb ale on handpull as well!

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  3. I see you're learning from dodgy experiences in independent offies and sticking to quality emporiums of pong.

    One day I hope my dream of seeing booze in poundworld will come true.

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  4. Cooking Lager: I see you're learning from dodgy experiences in independent offies and sticking to quality emporiums of pong.

    He isn't the only one, hey. I made that mistake sometimes. Generally, if you buy really obscure microbrewed beers from some tiny beer shop you'll end up with more than one that's completely off.

    That'll teach me not to buy Graysons Old Toenail. ;-)

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  5. "if you buy really obscure microbrewed beers from some tiny beer shop you'll end up with more than one that's completely off."

    You're bloody lucky to get one that isn't off - which is why I now avoid them like the plague.

    And I only buy BCAs from brewers like Fullers and Wells & Youngs who know how to do it properly.

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  6. "One day I hope my dream of seeing booze in poundworld will come true."

    I vaguely remember a news story about Poundland or some similar chain applying for an alcohol licence, although I can't readily find it on Google.

    There's a whole raft of single cans and bottles they could sell for a quid - I'm sure the pint can of Carling would prove popular at that price point.

    And just imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Prohibitionistas ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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