Followers of Brew Blog know we enjoy dark brews -- smooth porters, creamy stouts and the like. But we're not dumb enough to try those when the heat index heads for triple digits. About as dark as we're willing to go those days is a dark ale, such as the "Kilt Lifter" Scotch-Style Ale we spotted on the Central Market shelves last week.
A product of Moylan's Brewing (of Novato, Calif.), this 8 percent alcohol offering was news to us. The deep-auburn color and creamy head made a good first impression, and the first sip led us to describe it as a cross between a Scottish Ale and a Belgian beer, but that's a ridiculous, simplistic Hollywood pitch ("It's Pretty Woman meets Diehard -- you're gonna love it!")
A more appropriate description is that it's a solid Scottish ale -- malty, creamy, just hearty enough, all the things you buy a Scottish for -- that's been boozed up a bit. (Belhaven, by contrast, weighs in at 5.2 percent).
Halfway through the beer we didn't feel so crazy having gotten a Belgian impression, though. No only was the boozy character similar, but we also started to see the yeast at work in the flavors that kept surfacing.
Forgive the comment, but obviously English- and Scottish-style ales are produced with different yeasts, and certainly there's a subtle tinge that connects most Scottish ales and is one of the notes we tend to look for when ordering one.
A few years ago we would've written that off as a good balance of malts and the traditionally under-emphasized hops, but this more than any other Scottish we've had opened the machine-room door to reveal the yeast at work.
That vague digression aside, this is a good beer. If you want an education in Edinburgh yeast (of course another could've been used, but you get the point) or if you just want an adventurous imitation ale, go for it. About the only negative we can offer is that we're not sure a Scottish ale really benefits from a higher alcohol content.
Also, it should be noted we were not implying certain beers are analogous with certain movies. Though presumably that could be a fun game.