Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beereview: Highway 78 Scotch Ale

If your local liquor store or beer distributor has a beer section almost as large as their wine section you can guess one of three things. They know good beer, they got one heck of a deal on Milwaukee's Best, or a Nissan Pathfinder crashed into their wine room. Being the least likely of the three, I'm going with "they know good beer."

A few weeks ago I was picking up some Midas Touch and Stone Levitation. The shopkeep noticed that I was buying some pretty good stock and offered a recommendation. I know what you're thinking: upsell, but in beer the closest you're likely to get to a beer Sommelier is either a liquor store owner, viking, or European. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt (that they are trying to sell you something that's good rather than something that's just expensive.)

I'm no snob but my access to Europeans is somewhat limited; I won't turn my nose up at a good recommendation. The shopkeep suggested "Highway 98 - Scotch Ale" which is a collaboration between Stone, Green Flash, and Pizza Port Carlsbad. I like Stone and weird names, so it all sounds good to me. On to the review!

Highway 78 Scotch Ale

This beer pours a rich reddish brown and is not cloudy whatsoever. The smell is sweet brown sugar but with my allergies it's a little hard to tell. It smells very much like caramel or shoo-fly-pie. It's very bubbly and forms almost no head but keeps what it has.

The taste: Wow. Starts very sweet and slightly hoppy then quickly turns to burnt caramel and coffee. It's a little fruity at first, but fruity like red grapes or raisins. The aftertaste is a little strange: a few seconds after swallowing there's this little sweet flash that passes very quickly and leaves behind a flavor I can only describe as the taste of the unpopped rock-hard buttered popcorn left in the bottom of a microwaveable bag. It's very subtle but it definitely doesn't taste like mouth.

At 8.8% ABV this beer is no slouch but you wouldn't know it from the taste. Overall I'd say this is a quality beer akin to Mother's Milk by Keegan Ales. It's probably a one-of-a-kind which means if you have any interest at all in tasting it you need to get it soon. I wouldn't worry too much though: it's really good but it's not that memorable (unlike Saison Du BUFF.)

Once again Stone has confused a beer label with a blog post. If I wanted to read all their personal anecdotes I'd check their website; when I want to read about the beer I'll check a label. It's sort of annoying when you're writing a review and the label says nothing about the beer or who made it. Having never heard of the two smaller breweries it would have been nice to have a little bio or something. This bottle is just covered in inside jokes (or I hope they are, they aren't very funny otherwise.)

Have you tried a good collaboration beer? Have you heard of Green Flash or Pizza Port Carlsbad? Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. "I'm no
    but my access to Europeans is somewhat limited"

    Ahem, I do believe in a previous post we established that you are, indeed, a snob.