Tuesday, April 3, 2012

There Can Be Only One

I was in the GTA region this weekend, hanging out primarily in Ajax but also spending time in Whitby and Oshawa. I never realized there is more than what I usually see as I speed by this area along the 401, heading to or from Toronto or other parts of Southern Ontario.

Once away from one of the busiest highways in North America, this part of the upper shore of Lake Ontario is actually quite nice. Just stay clear of the big Rio-Can box store zones.

On Friday, when I realized that I wasn't going to be in the comfort of my own home in time to try a new beer for my review, I decided to do my review from my hotel room, make notes, and finish it up when I returned to Ottawa. Luckily, I had my Where In Ottawa for Monday, so I also had an extra evening to get this post together.

And I'm glad I had last night to try this week's beer again. My review from my notes on Saturday alone would have produced a very different review.

So let's go:

Highlander Scottish Ale
South River, ON
LCBO: $3.25, 500 mL; 5% alc/vol

Now, I was a little confused when I tried to find information about this beer. According to the label, this is a Scottish ale. And according to the brewery's temporary Web site, this is a Scottish ale. Yet, the LCBO calls this ale a pale ale under its listings, and the Canadian Beer News, which toured the facilities in South River and interviewed the brewmaster, Brian Wilson, calls it a pale ale. But for this review, I'm sticking with the label. And my eyes, nose, and taste buds.

Because, for the most part, this beer fits my description of a Scottish ale.

Pouring this ale into my glass, my eyes were met with a toffee-coloured ale with a light, lacy head that didn't hold together for long. But the glass maintained a trace of head throughout my drinking.

The nose held wonderful notes of caramel and what I call an almost almond paste, like marzipan. There was a sweet nuttiness that piqued my interest. Some subtle hints of spice, like nutmeg, were also noted.

On the palate, I caught burnt toffee and a bit of citrus, almost like orange rind, and more of the nutmeg. The flavours were nicely balanced, though I would have liked to have them hold on during the finish, which I found a little too short.

This was an enjoyable ale from a brewery that has been around since 2008. I would hope that Brian Wilson will give us more ales to enjoy in the future.

For now, there's only the one, and it's a good one.

1 comment:

  1. I have also truely enjoyed this beer. I love the fact that there is no lingering after taste. From my bartending experiences, I have observed and noted, that if there is soap residue on a glass, then the head of a beer will disapate very quickly. When I pour myself a glass of Highlander Brew, at home, the head remains and does not disappear. Highlander is now my beer of choice, and I will continue enjoying it.