Name – Scotts 1816
Brewer – Copper Dragon
Classification – Premium Ale. (Yet another below-strength ale claiming the title 'premium'. This phrase is beginning to lose all meaning.)
Strength – 4.4% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Copper. You'd think they planned it!
On the nose – Subtle. Lots going on... subtly. Raisins and bran flakes win through.
On the tongue – An agonising inch or so from glory. (Read on...)
On the subject – Rising from the (cold) ashes of the Skipton Brewery, this mythical beast is on the march, adding pubs to it's weighty beer portfolio.
On the market – Growing local options – but the brewery's own online shop is top notch.
On the whole – 7/10
I reckon this beer is just one flavour theme short of being an absolute classic.
To have got so close to true greatness is really quite pleasantly frustrating.
But what exactly is missing?
Well, that's a far harder question to answer than I first imagined.
The truth is, there's so much already going on in this brew that it's difficult to work out what could possibly be absent.
The hops are nicely robust – no problems in that department – there's a lovely bonus undercurrent of peach which flits cheekily in and out, and the malt base could hardly be described as 'lacking'.
But they've definitely missed a trick somewhere, and were I a competing brewer with years of recipe creations under my (increasingly strained) belt, I'd probably have all kinds of ideas about just exactly what that missing trick might be.
As it is, I can only guess at what it might be, but that guess would probably involve an ingredient which could offer something to counter to the slightly dominant sweet notes, and give those fruity sugars more of a run for their (admittedly delicious) money.
Otherwise though, this really is a pretty decent brew indeed.
Apart from anything else, it's got that magical 'never the same mouthful twice' appeal, which forever keeps you guessing what the next sip is going to surprise you with. But it's also a sufficiently satisfying drink to ensure that this guessing game is always a pleasure to play.
All in all, I can safely say that The Copper Dragon is now firmly on my radar.
I suggest you get it on yours.