Aug 30, 2012

Williamsberg Alewerks Caledonia

I’m not entirely sure what a Scottish Style IPA is, but that’s what this latest effort in the Williamsberg Alewerks Brewers’ Choice limited line of releases is billed as. After thoroughly enjoying the surprise Bitter Valentine from the same line of releases, I was more than excited to see what the brewery had to offer with Caledonia.

While this 4.5% ABV brew doesn’t scream “Scottish” in any way, shape or form throughout the drinking experience it does offer up a well rounded IPA presence in a sessionable package. Caledonia is a surprise in and of itself, as the hoppy character wasn’t all that expected. I was prepared for a little peaty, roast malt to bring in some flare from say a Scottish Ale, but instead what we’ve got here is a pretty solid IPA. It’s not nearly as tasty as Bitter Valentine, but still goo in its own right.


Caledonia pours a light, orange-tinted amber with a dense, off-white head that fell slowly leaving behind resilient lacing.


There’s plenty of citrusy hops (grapefruit, orange zest) and a touch of pine that fills the nose quickly, but nothing that I would describe as “Scottish.” There is a light, bready malt backbone with a little grain, but that’s about it.


This beer certainly drinks like an IPA as a solid helping of piny hops and citrus arrive over top the balancing malt backbone of light bread, cereal and grain. Again, nothing here suggests “Scottish.” There’s an initial hop bite that is sharp, but quickly fades to a lingering tingle on the palate. The combination of the lower alcohol level, crisp mouthfeel and medium body make this a brew that goes down very easy.


The labeling of this beer still confuses me into thinking maybe I’m missing something within this beer’s tasty depths, but in the end I’m rewarded either way. Caledonia is a great little beer that packs plenty of hop character into a big bottle — one that you’ll have no problem draining at a nearly sessionable 4.5% ABV. This is a beer that I would certainly purchase again.

Rating: 3.5/5

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