Welcome to the Drink in the Sights McEwan's Levy Beer Review. Finally lockdown rules are relaxing and we're allowed to meet people outside for a beer or six so it's drinks in the back garden time. McEwan's Levy is my 6th and final beer of the day and was bought for me as an offering by one of my long term drinking companions, he seems to think I'll like it so fingers crossed. McEwan's are a 170 year old Edinburgh based brewery who now like so many other old breweries comes under Marston's ownership. I think this is the first McEwan's beer I've had but as this is the 6th of the day my memory might not be all it was a few hours ago.
McEwan's Levy comes in a brown 500ml bottle with a big green label which you can't really miss. The label also gives a nice bit of history about where the Levy name came from which to paraphrase says in the 19th century there was a duty levied on barrels of beer based on the alcohol percentage. It's basically saying it's a 3.2% beer because that meant the levy would be lower. At this point in the night I'm more than happy to be drinking a low percentage beer so I'm not going to complain. The label also describes McEwan's Levy as 'an extremely drinkable Scottish beer that balances roast flavour notes and a residual sweetness, with roasted coffee and hazlenut aromas.' Other than the hazelnut bit it sounds quite nice.
The beer pours really well. A nice thick foamy head sits on top of a dark chestnut body, and the head lasts reasonably well. The aroma is quite smoky so they've certainly done some good roasting here. There's also some strong malt smells, I quite like the aroma, but then I prefer anything smoked so that's not a surprise. It certainly smells stronger than you'd expect from a 3.2% beer, I'm not really getting any hazelnut though, which in all honesty as someone with a nut allergy is a bit of a relief as even the smell makes me feel a bit ill sometimes.
McEwan's Levy feels much lighter than it looks and smells, which is a shame, it's all just a bit watery. That said though I really like the taste. There's a good level of smoky roasted coffee beans with just a slight hint of chocolate which balances things out nicely, plus it's Easter weekend so there should be chocolate in everything. This really is quite a light tasty beer, and very much a traditional Scottish style session bitter. McEwan's levy does a lot of things right, I just wish it felt a bit more substantial. I'm going to give McEwan's Levy a very good 7.5 out of 10. It's probably just a bit of texture away from been a genuinely great beer.