It’s a cool Sunday evening, and after a long family dinner related to-and-fro drive, a Scottish Ale seemed like a good evening elixir.
Some malt, some kilt-shaped love. It just feels right today. Off to the cellar for a Burning Skye Scottish Style Ale from Empyrean Brewing Company, brewed and bottled in Lincoln, Nebraska.
First of all, this is a good beer. But while brewvana is a pretty positive place, I’ve gotta ask, “Why put Cascade hops in a Scottish beer?” I’m all for creativity, but this beer just doesn’t seem the place for it. It’s probably because I’m very partial to Scottish and Scotch ales, but not completely. A little truth in labeling would happy this camper straight away.
Bringing up a different beer will show that I’m not trying to establish myself as the Style Police. People like that can be a little annoying, though we’ve all got a need to put things into neat little boxes from time to time.
Highland Brewing Company’s Tasgall Ale is a “Scotch Ale,” and a bloody good beer, but it’s got a significant hop profile. Thankfully, HBC’s description throws this in: “Its increased hop level is a modest departure from a true Scotch-style ale.” Moreover, all of Oscar’s sales reps give a great description of this beer when talking to the public. I’ve heard at least four different reps point out how Tasgall is “just a wee bit different” at tastings and beer festivals. I’ve told Oscar Wong (Highland’s Founder, Owner, President, Chief Peddler, Schmoozing and Cleanup Guy) how much I appreciated this. He’s a good guy, his people are good people and his beer is good beer.
Now well-digressed from my pint of Burning Skye, I should say that the hops aren’t intense, but they are present, both in the flavoring and the bittering. Those aren’t the reasons I pick up a sixer of Scottish ale at the store. I’m looking for smooth malt, a little caramel, maybe a touch of peat. Burning Skye has these qualities, but also this added other nuance that doesn’t make me groovy. I can taste that touch of Cascade, and it effects the finish, to me, in an undesirable way. I get it when I breathe out, and I’m really just longing for something different.
If you handed me one and simply said, “Hey, try this tasty beer,” I would try it and like it. I like it today, it’s just not what I hoped for.