Our third American post in a row finds us with two surprises, though, the America in question is the continent including the Caribbean as well as the U.S. of A.
A regular costumer from those United States once handed in two bottles of this beer from his local brewery as a surprise gift to the manager of my shop, one of which found its way to my glass. Thanks to both!
The beer is Kilt Lifter, a Scotch ale from Pike Brewing in Seattle. Although, more accurately, it is a
Scotch-style ruby ale, distancing itself from the sort of big, chewy, sweet dark beer of the likes of Founders' Dirty Bastard. It's just as well too, because while this pale, ruby beer screams of toffee malt, biscuit and brown sugar it's nowhere near as big and brash as the Founders offering. To taste it's all toffee chocolate, red apple and raisins, like a doppelbock on a very short lead. It does have that chewy malt thing going on, again echoing a sort of toned down Dirty Bastard, with a kind of comfy warmth to it, despite its reasonable 6.5% ABV. The hops are purely functional, offering a counterweight to the malt without imparting any flavour from what I can tell. There's nothing wrong with a malt-forward beer in my book, particularly when there's no aggressive cloying, and in that respect Pike have done a decent job to keep this one alive and interesting for 355mls.
Another surprise came from the same manager (thanks again to Gene) on returning from Jamaica. The beer situation on Jamrock seems pretty stark, dominated as it is by Diageo products like Red Stripe, Guinness, and this, Dragon Stout. Only, this is not Dragon Stout, this is Dragon Spitfire, the 10% big brother to the 7.5% regular version.
I say big brother, but at 10% the good folk at Desnoes and Geddes (Diageo) have decided to package Dragon Stout Spitfire in a 250ml bottle. This is usually something I'd complain about, but really it's just as well; this beer is sweet. The nose is boozy and sweet. The taste is boozy and sweet, with cola, rum and sweet sugary toffee and more sweet dark rum and toffee sugar and boozy sweetness and sweet booziness and sugary death. Gone is the earthy, tobacco-stained complexity of an export stout the like of Guinness Foreign Extra, and absent is any semblance of roast anything that makes a stout taste like a stout.
Over the course of two hours of Mad Max, I did finish the bottle, even if it was more work than it was worth. I've never been to Jamaica, but if I ever find myself there, it'll be ice cold bland lager and Guinness Foreign Extra all the way.
Jesus I think I need some Irish beer and some hops, stat.