15 September 2008

KOTBR #54 - MacNiven's Broken Promise

We originally set out for MacNiven's with the promise of Brooklyn's Grand Cru and Magic Hat #9 on tap - but upon arriving there was not a drop to drink of either, and so we set our sights elsewhere.

Matt R (profile photo next time): I usually don't care when a bar is out of a particular beer. I want to think it is because they are turning their beer properly, and when it comes to craft beer I like to think that it means that craft beer is taking hold and people are interested in drinking different beer, but I really had my heart set on trying the Magic Hat #9, but all the more reason to go back to MacNiven's in the future. I've personally always enjoyed MacNiven's. I've always gotten great service, great beer, and the food is pretty tasty as well. I also have a penchant for all things Sean Connery, and the walls of MacNivens are a tribute to the Scotsman, and why not have a Scottish beer in his honor?

Behold Caledonian Golden Promise

I wasn't sure what to expect from Caledonian. This is my first beer from them. This is also the first organically brewed beer in Britain. So, in case you are on beer Jeopardy you will know that bit of useless information. This beer poured a nice golden amber color with a tight frothy head on it with an abundance of carbonation bubbles. I am getting ripe fruit in the nose like apricots and peaches as well as some fingernail polish. The main flavors are of toasted grain with just a slight hop addition to the flavor. The mouthfeel is good, but leaves quite the dry finish. This was a fairly decent beer, and I would come back to it again. I think it is worthy of a solid 3.3 mugs.

Although Chris is fairly new to the party, he knows his Hoosier Beer Geek history. That's why he didn't hesitate in using the old KOTBR beer review cop-out: the haiku.

Spur of the moment
So silly in retrospect
Damn inspiration:

Smells strongly of pear
Tastes of Granny Smith Apples
So easy to drink

3.6 Mugs.

When rolling with a pack of eight thirsty Knights, you run into problems not normally encountered. Problems like "yes, we have that. No, we do not have eight of them." Craft beer isn't always stacked so deep.

And that's after making a decision on what to drink.

"Have you had that?"
"Yeah... I'd rather not."
"What about.."
"Hey has anyone.."
"What the hell is Caledonian Golden Promise?"

Apparently the golden promise lies in a minefield of organic whozits and whatnots:
The first organically brewed beer in Britain. Golden Promise is named after Scotland's most famous malting barley - which is prized by brewers and distillers for producing a delightful rounded sweet malt flavour, reminiscent of Ovaltine.

Organically grown aroma hops like First Gold are added to Caledonian's unique direct-fired open coppers to create this award winning beer. Certified by the Soil Association it is a 5-times winner at their Organic Food Awards and winner of a Silver medal at the 2005 International Brewing Awards.
Certified by the Soil Association? I don't know about you, but I feel like if there's anyone I can trust on beer, it's got to be the soil association. You know, with their love, dedication, and expansive knowledge of soil.

Whatever. Golden Promise had a sweet fruity nose - I got apple, pear, and banana - with a front that echoed those same elements. Light bodied, a little tart, a hint vinegary. Agreeable, drinkable, nice.. but..

Taking into account the $7 price of the bottle, I'd wouldn't exactly hurry to pick this one again. But it was pretty good. 3.25 Mugs.

Mike: 3.25 Jason: 3.4 Jim: 4.0 Gina: 4.0 Matt E: 4.0 Kelly: 3.65 Matt R: 3.3 Chris: 3.6
Total Score: 3.65 Mugs


  1. FYI for readers - Chumley's, which is where we did the soon-to-be-posted KOTBR #55, has Magic Hat #9. But, being the illogical creatures we are, we did not review it. I suppose we'll get around to it some time in the future.

  2. How fair is it to title is Broken Promise, knowing full well that Macniven's regularly changes several of their drafts, always challenging the local beer drinkers to taste something new. If the beer you were looking for was on draught, then gone, maybe taking a bit of the blame for waiting is only fair? Also, how many Scottish beers does Macniven's have? You review one?!? Craziness!

  3. Anonymous, the title of the post was a riff on the name of the beer, not a dig at MacNiven's. We love MacNiven's and knew there was a chance that the desired beers would be gone when we arrived. Guess we should have made clearer in our post that we were being tongue-in-cheek. And as for the number of Scottish beers we reviewed--as we noted in the post, the size of our group can make reviewing certain beers difficult, especially when the rarer beers are stocked in limited quantities. Rest assured that we'll be reviewing other beers at MacNiven's in the future. As Matt R. said, the fact that the Magic Hat was gone just gives us one of many reasons to go back and visit MacNiven's again.