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Wells and Young’s Brewery | McEwan’s Scotch Ale

McEwan's Logo
Kevin Risner

Photo credit: McEwan’s.

ABV: 8.0%

IBU: Unknown

If I had to give you the pivotal year that launched my love of beer, it would have to be 2007. Despite my initial enjoyment of cask ales and the Guinnesses I had had in England a few years before that, I had not yet expanded my beer repertoire back in the United States. This beer expansion seven years ago had a lot to do with what I had found at a local bar here in Ohio, which had (and still has) a World Beer Tour with rotating beers from the United States and also across the world. That is where I found McEwan’s Scotch Ale, and that is when I knew that I had found one of my favorite beers and beer styles out there. With its import hiatus to the United States from approximately 2009 to 2013, I did not have the privilege of enjoying occasional pints of what I considered to be the nectar of the gods. However, after stumbling across a discussion board post online last year, I found out that Wells and Young’s had bought the McEwan’s label and decided to begin distributing this particular scotch ale across our great nation once more. 

Naturally I was on Cloud Nine, as I did not expect to indulge once more upon this beer any time soon. I went to purchase a couple bottles for me and also for other friends I knew who liked this ale. That night in November last year, sitting in my living room and gazing fondly at the bottle, with the labeling and the McEwan’s script exactly as it had been ages ago, sans-serif surrounded by that memorable tartan-like pattern, I had a faint glimmer of fear. What if my favorite ale did not live up to my anticipation? What if the product under Wells and Young’s did not taste like it once did? Did this six-year break from their bottled version change my own perception of the ale?

I could not continue the apprehension; I could not. I simply cracked open the bottle and poured.

The ale looked just as it had back in August of 2007: a dark brownish-red, almost black in dimmer lighting. There was a normal amount of head after the pour and it would lovingly stick around the further I went to completing my first pint. The malty, sweet smells were enough to win me over again, so much temptation in such a small glass. Now was the moment I had been waiting for: the first sip.

McEwan’s Scotch Ale honestly tasted even better than I remembered! My smile grew as the flavors swirled about in my mouth: quite malty, with hints of caramel and coffee. Not too sweet, not too strong, but not too bitter either. The equilibrium was just about perfect. When drunk warm, it’s a spectacular winter brew for the snows to come; makes sense since this hails from the chillier climes of Scotland.

So never go away, McEwan’s Scotch Ale. Never depart from these parched shores again. I do not know how I would manage without you nearby!


  1. Martyn

    What I would give to be able to get this in the land of Aus again. Every 6 months or so I look all around the net to see if a can find a supplier or someone I can sell my soul to, to just get a taste of this fine drop once again. Alas it has never been the case. Hasnt been available for years.

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