Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beer of the Week

One could speculate that since I haven't been tending to this blog and writing up beers, I haven't been tasting new and exciting brews. One would be wrong.

This week's BOTW comes to us from a place familiar to those acquainted with the American brewing revolution, Northern California.

Located about 30 miles north of San Francisco, Moylan's Brewery in Novato, California has a wide array of beers, including a pale ale, an IPA, a Stout, a barleywine style, and the star of our show, "Kilt Lifter" Scotch style ale.

A Scotch ale, or "Wee Heavy," as it is sometimes known, is one of four distinct brewing styles to come out of Scotland. The other three are called "Scottish Ales," and are named to reflect their increasing original gravity: light, heavy, and export. A Scotch ale has an original gravity higher than all three.

Barley being an abundant crop in Scotland, malt was never in short supply. In fact, when Scotland joined with England in 1707, the treaty specifically exempted Scotland from a malt excise, further encouraging the region's malt heavy ways.

Hops crops were another story. The common bittering agent refuses to flourish in Scotland, forcing Scottish brewers to use other ingredients for bittering like ginger, spices, and other herbs. Thus we have the malt-heavy and hops-light brews that comprise the style of the Scots.

Kilt lifter pours a dark amber color with a nice, tight, off white head. A caramel and biscuit smell is married with some fruity aromas (oh my God, is that watermelon?).

The beer is sweet and thick, but not as thick as some other Scotch ales out there (McEwan's). There's definitely a strong malt sweetness to the front, but it's complimented with a raisin taste and a distinct and just slightly bitter finish. There are earth tones in this beer, but not peat to the extent of a Scotch whiskey.

If you are leery about trying new Scotch ales, this is a quality beer not to fear. The malt isn't overpowering, and the earthiness of it doesn't knock your socks off. A fine outing from Moylan's.

Links of Interest:

Moylan's Brewery

Digg this

No comments: