The Beertender: A Wee Bit of Praise for Scotch Ale
|Christian Bickel, Wikimedia Commons|
This big, dessert-friendly brew may simply be called strong ale in its country of origin. Also known as "wee heavy," an adorable beerloquialism if there ever was one, the brew is just a bit stronger than a standard ale would be, hovering around 7% ABV -- a couple of points higher than usual, but enough to provide greater protection from the cold winds.
As lovely as a fine ale can be, Scotland's greatest liquid export is, of course, whisky. But isn't whisky really distilled beer? Kinda sorta. Point is, odes to whiskey do indeed outnumber those to beer, and if we're talking Scotland, we gotta sing about scotch.
Burns is celebrated today with traditional dinners and festivals celebrating his work and life. One such celebration occurs every January 25th at the Schlafly Tap Room, where they throw "Rabbie" a proper birthday party featuring haggis, kilts, Scotch Ale and Romantic paeans to sociability. Oh, and bagpipes. Lots of bagpipes. (Check out the Beertender's mother-in-law drumming in the pipe band!)
In addition to Schlafly's version, there are several examples of Scotch ale available locally. From Scotland, we have Belhaven Wee Heavy, Traquair House Ale and Orkney Skullsplitter, with Founders Dirty Bastard, Samuel Adams Scotch Ale and Square One's Single Malt Scotch Ale representing the American-made selection. Raise one this month while thumbing your nose at a limey and bellowing a few lines from "Scots Wha Hae."
Matt Thenhaus is a Saint Louis bartender who believes there is a time and place for every beer. He blogs about beer every Wednesday.