One Scotch, One Beer, and One Bourbon (Sort Of) #BrewedAwakening
Although I’m Scottish on my mother’s side, being a Nicoll (Clan MacNicol), I don’t typically celebrate Robbie Burns Day. That may seem strange, especially since I love Scotch and I love Scottish beer. I actually like haggis, too. The last time I was in Scotland, on a whisky tour a few years ago, I imbibed a lot of whisky and Scottish real ale. It was fantastic. What a pleasant change from the last time I was there over a decade before, when full flavoured cask ale was harder to find.
This week I am drinking Scottish for #BrewedAwakening. I’m having some Innis & Gunn beer – their Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale – alongside some Scotch, a 12 Year Old Dewar’s The Ancestor Blended Scotch Whisky. So it is kind of a One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer thing, although a little mixed up.
I admit I’ve been a bit harsh in the past with regards to Innis & Gunn. I’ve found some of their beers to be too sweet and lacking balance. And their lager? No comment. But I have a soft spot for malt forward beer, and this 6.6% alc. Bourbon Barrel beer is definitely that, malty, with some oak character, but reasonably dry. I also really enjoyed their Blood Red Sky Rum Barrel aged beer – it’s a strong red ale with lots of caramel malt and pleasant barrel influence. It’s dangerous.
I bought the Dewar’s because it was slightly discounted (to around $35 in New Brunswick), and it intrigued me. With the big increase in Single Malt whisky prices over recent years – it is hard to get a really good one for under $60 – I’ve been on the lookout for inexpensive blends that have a lot of Scotch character. The Dewar’s is quite nice, with definite Scotch character and barrel complexity. It isn’t peaty at all, but is a very good value blend, rich and malty, and could pass for a much more expensive Single Malt.
How are the beer and whisky together? Well, if you’ve ever sipped Scotch with beer, like I have on many occasions, and did regularly on my last trip to Scotland, then you already know that a sip of Scotch with a malty beer is a lovely combination. This holds true here. Cheers to Scotch and beer, to Clan MacNicol, and cheers to Robbie Burns, too.