Friday, April 12, 2013

Caledonia Werks!

As I mentioned in last Friday's post, McGrady's Irish Pub in Charlottesville was planning to have a beer called Caledonia on tap for Session Beer Day. It was a beer that I had never had before, but from its description on the Williamsburg Alewerks website, I was eager to try it:
Caledonia is a session-able IPA featuring Styrian Goldings, Willamette, and Fuggle hops balanced with pale malt and crystal malts. ABV:4.5%
Once my Sunday shift at the Starr Hill tasting room was done and dusted, I headed over to McGrady's to give it a bash. Expecting a friend to join me, I grabbed a booth rather than squeezing myself into the one spare seat at the bar, and promptly ordered. I think the server may have been a touch confused by my not wanting Samuel Adams Alpine Spring, which has been my go-to beer since February. Anyway, a few minutes later the beer was sat in front of me.


I have to admit I was expecting a slightly paler beer, what I got was an ever so slightly cloudy rich amber, like orange marmelade, though minus the thick cut peel that is my preference in the marmelade world. There was not much of a head, though given a quick swirl a half head white cap appeared. The hops in the beer are three of my favourites, so I had half an idea of what the aroma would be, but wasn't really expecting the sheer intensity of the Seville orange assault on my nostrils, back behind the oranges though was a touch of toastiness and a trace of light syrup...I was looking forward to the best bit about beer, drinking the damned stuff.

Such a delicious beer can only be described with one word, balance. Yes the hops are there, bitter, fruity, fragrant and tangy, but that is not all there is to the beer. The malt weighs in with juicy sweet sugars, more of the toasty theme and a soft toffee element which just dances with the hops and spins your head as it pirouettes round and round.

Is this stuff really only 4.5%??? Caledonia is an absolute dream of a beer, let alone a session beer, and one that my friend was equally impressed by, as was the owner of McGrady's - in fact I think it is the beer we have drunk more of this week than any other, and hopefully it will become a regular on tap.

I seem to have garnered a reputation with my friends for not being a fan of pale ales, I can't imagine where they get that idea from, but when done right, and Caledonia is done emphatically right, it is a real pleasure to down a few pints of pale.

Picture credit: taken from the Williamsburg Alewerks website.

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