The date as I write this is September 18, 2014 and the People of Scotland have executed their democratic right to vote whether to stay unified with the United Kingdom or to make a declaration of independence. As it stands now independence seems unlikely but a series of ramifications could be attached to Scottish succession: destabilization of the British pound, the fact that Scotland would be left without their own currency, the necessity to change the Union Jack, and most importantly the possibility that price of Scotch could skyrocket. I find myself in search of the perfect beer to contemplate the what will be and could have been Scottish independence.
First up in our lineup is Orkney Breweries (Sinclair Brewery) Skull Splitter. A medium brown, semi-translucent, 8.5% abv Scotch Ale/ Wee Heavy. This beer is crisp (almost lager like), smooth, bready, malty with a slight residual sweetness. By far this is the smoothest tasting and easiest drinking Wee Heavy I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. The bottle boasts that the brew gets its name from the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney and I suddenly find myself scouring the internet looking for a horn to drink this ale from.
Our second contender is Innis & Gunn Original. This beer is light brown, crystal clear, sweet, malty, and incredibly well balanced. The oak aging delivers undertones of chocolate and caramel. Not to sound repetitive but this beer defines a whole new stratosphere of smooth and is no less than outrageously poundable. A Scottish Export that tips the scales at 6.6% abv that would surely tip me if I had more time and more bottles. my only complaint is the slight skunked hop flavor that is likely contributed by the clear bottles and the fact that is was sitting on an unshielded shelf on the door. Innis & Gunn Original is delicate, sophisticated, and highly enjoyable.
Last but certainly not least is BrewDog Hardore IPA. This American style imperial IPA stands out from the other two selections of the day by dripping 150 IBUs of hoppy goodness. Its hard to believe that the respective abv’s of my other selections barely approach the 9.2% behemoth that sits before me. A beautiful copper coloured (yeah that’s right), citrusy, earthy, resinous, knock your socks off IPA. I wouldn’t drink this beer all night but I’m sure glad I finished with it.
So with decision time looming for the Scottish people I find myself intertwined with them in a decision of far less importance. Do I chose the tradition of Skull Splitter, the intricacies of Innis & Gunn Original, or the bold presentation of BrewDog Hardcore IPA. When it comes to independence from England how could I chose anything but an expertly brewed American Imperial IPA. Hardcore IPA, the perfect beer 4 contemplating Scottish independence.
God Save the Queen, or the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney Thorfinn “Skull Splitter” Hauskaluif.
Mike Berube is a beer lover who has the belief that there are good beers, there are bad beers, and then there is the right beer. He has begun a quest to find the perfect for every situation.