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Scotch and beer?


kvltrede
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Here's a pairing question I don't believe has been discussed: is there a style of beer that goes well with Scotch whisky in the way that Irish whiskey goes well with Irish ales? I'm sure I'll annoy a few Scotch purists with this post but as the whisky in question isn't particularly expensive or rare I'll accept your scorn and I'll point out that there will be plenty of fizzwater handy as well. I was just thinking that a congenial beer might be a nice change of pace. Of course, Scotch is substantially more distinctive than Irish so I'm not sure if a similarly distinctive ale is the answer or if one would be better off with something milder (or simply abandoning the idea as untenable). I assume a Scotch or Scottish ale might well work but it's been quite a while since I've had one so I don't recall enough about them to be useful.

The scotch in question is The Singleton of Glendullan. My first taste of it won't come until my brother opens his Christmas present so I don't know much beyond what I've read about it. It's a Speyside so it's likely to be a better companion to beer than, say, an Islay whisky but beyond that I'd just be guessing. Here's part of one review I found:

"...Leaves your nose with the impression of heather filled spring meadows ... Fantastically light, creamy honey coating your mouth... ...Dry, lightly smokey and a smooth warm aftertaste long in the mouth... ...Smooth and Complimentary ... I was surprised by the smokey tones and fruityness...."

A quick spin through the Binny's website turns up a few possibilities. The Belhaven Scottish and St. Andrews ales sound promising. The Tennent's lager would be, perhaps, the less distinctive option.

Anybody out there make a habit of pairing beer and Scotch or did my limited googling and eG searching turn up zip because the answer is self-evident?

Thanks.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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I was just reading over on What’s On Tap – The California Craft Beer Newsletter that a well known Scottish beer brewer was teaming with Highland Park to create a whisky barrel aged ale:

Also Matthias Neidhart, the German-born proprietor of B. United International, importer of a string of excellent beers, promises a new one from Harviestoun, Alva, Scotland, the primo UK craft brewer in February. This one’s called Ola Dubh (Gaelic, I think — for Black Oil).

It’s 8 percent, aged in Highland Park Scotch Whisky barrels. The beer, Matthias says, is a collaboration between Harviewstoun and Highland Park, named Distiller of the Year in the UK.

The beer itself is based on the recipe for Old Engine Oil, an English, 6 percent, strong ale, which has many fans.

Considering I just discovered that I quite enjoy Highland Park 12, an Orkney Scotch, I thought that pretty exciting.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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If you can find Fraoch Heather Ale, I think it would be a beautiful match. The bitterness from heather is quite distinct, different from hops. The mouthfeel of the ale itself is rich and rounded, and a bitter chocolate profile rounded by floral and earthy components prevails. The heathery notes of the whisky should be drawn out, and the fruit of the Glendullan should play off of the earthy notes of the Fraoch (most Scottish ales are not very fruity, so you'll have to work at contrast rather than complement).

Failing the Fraoch - which is not widely distributed but which I think I did see at Sam's or Binny's on my last trip to Chicago - Belhaven is a fine choice, particularly the lightly smoky Wee Heavy. I'd love to hear what you ultimately decide on.

Tim

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Beer and whiskey together is a beautiful thing.

I love a boilermaker (my wife did go to Purdue, that's another story) which consists of a creamy pint of the darkest and meatiest stout available, with a shot of real peaty malt blend. If the beer or the hooch is too rare or pricey alone, there's no sense in pouring them into the same glass to become one. Sipping in sequence is allowed.

So having said that, when in Atlantic Canada, I recommend Propeller London Porter from Halifax and a shot of Glen Breton Rare.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Well, thanks to your help and the help of the very knowledgeable beer guy at Sam's I ended up with single bottles of the following:

Fraoch Heather Ale

Belhaven Wee Heav

Belhaven St. Andrew's

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Mac Queen's Nessie (an Austrian-made Scottish-style ale)

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (aged in whisky casks)

Fuller's 1845

and one or two others I'm forgetting

My original intention was just to get a six-pack of some Scottish ale and see how well it went with Scotch whisky but apparently I got a little carried away. Almost all of these cost more per 12-16 oz bottle than a six-pack of my beloved Hamm's. I passed on a few suggested brews that weren't available singly and a couple that cost well over what I was willing to spend. It might be a little silly to blanch at paying $3-5 per bottle for a fancy-schmancy import at the liquor store when I've paid that much for Corona at a terrible bar or two but $9 for a 9.2 oz bottle of beer? Not this time anyway...

I hope to take some notes on these brews and how they pair with whisky but a family holiday gathering may not be conducive to that (as might not the alcohol-fueled nature of the experiment itself). At the very least I'll post a general impression of the pairings next week.

Wish me luck!

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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