Get ready, Karl Strauss Costa Mesa beer drinkers! This Thursday (March 4) holds a special treat for you, as Karl will be serving up March’s specially-released Scottish Ale straight from the cask. This tasty beer is chock-full of rich malt flavor with a hint of smoky essence in the profile, and it exemplifies what is emblematic of Scottish Ale today in the US… where beer drinkers are naturally accustomed to Pale Ales with low hop levels and malty sweetness.
The Scottish Ale’s interesting history is just as rich as the beer itself. According to records, beer has been produced in Scotland for over 3,000 years, with two main production centers eventually developing in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The strength of the beer was based on the now-obsolete shilling currency designating 60/- as light (<3.5% ABV), 70/- as heavy, 80/- as export (4.0%-5.5% ABV), and 90/- to 160/- for Scotch (Wee Heavy) Ale (>6% ABV). Although the calculations are somewhat obsolete, the percentages are still helpful in decoding the various types of Scottish Ales available today.
Traditionally, Scottish Ale went through a long boil in the kettle for a rich caramelization of the wort. This process produced a deep copper to brown color and additional unfermentable sugars, giving it a rich, malty mouth feel and aroma. The hop flavor was light, which enabled the malt profile to shine through as the signature characteristic of the beer, and allowed the smoky flavor to slowly unveil itself in the finish.
If you miss this perfect opportunity to sample the casked Scottish Ale on Thursday, take comfort in the fact that Karl will have the Ale on tap for the whole month of March. Additionally, there are plenty more local Scottish brews that should also fit the profile. For example, Pizza Port brews the Commando Scottish Ale and the Great Scott Scottish Ale. Currently, Pizza Port San Clemente is offering the Six Pence Scotch Ale, Oggi’s offers the McGarvey’s Scottish Ale, and BJ’s Brewhouse seasonally offers the Scottish ESB. So go ahead and enjoy the unique flavors of the Scottish Ale and its amazing heritage.
Slàinte, sonas agus beartas
(Health, wealth and happiness)