The Pocket Guide to Beer

Michael Jackson

Quotations reprinted without permission from Simon & Shuster edition


"With its open kettles, fired by direct flame, and even the odd copper fermenter, Caledonian holds the deepest traditions of Edinburgh as a brewing centre. Its much-appreciated range of tasty ales have gained in malty freshness, hop aroma, and complexity since the brewery's return to independence. The brewery's specialty, the strong Caledonian Ale ***->**** (1077-1080), marketed in the US as MacAndrew's , has an unusually pale color for the style and a wonderfully clean maltiness, dried by the alcoholic power of the finish. A Lowland Single Malt of the beer world."

Chimay Trappist Monastery

"The best known and biggest monastery brewery in Belgium. Its long-serving brewmaster, Father Théodore, is a greatly respected figure in the industry, and Chimay's products have been a model for many others. They are, in the monastic tradition, top-fermenting strong ales, conditioned in the bottle. Within this tradition, the Chimay beers have a house character that is fruity, both in the intense aroma and the palate. Beyond that, each has its own features... Chimay Blue ****, which has a gravity of of 8; 19.62 (1081) and an alcohol content of 7.1; 9... has again that characteristically Chimay depth of aromatic fruitiness -- a Zinfandel, or even a port, among beers. Chimay Blue is vintage-dated on the crown cork. If kept in a dark, cool place (ideally 19 deg. C / 65 deg. F, but definitely not refrigerated), it will become markedly smoother after a year and sometimes continues to improve for two or three, drying slightly as it progresses. After five years, it could lose a little character, but some samples have flourished for a quarter of a century. A version of Chimay Blue in a corked 75cl bottle is called Grande Reserve. The larger bottle and different method of sealing seem to mature the beer in a softer manner. With different surface areas and air space, a slightly larger yeast presence and the very slight porosity of cork this is not fanciful."


"There was an English influence in the early American ales, and here it is again in David Geary's well-established new-generation micro... A Hampshire Special Ale *** (1070), tawny, bitter-chocolatey, drying to a tremendous hop finish, is produced for winter, and is also vintage-dated."