Those Scots and their Belgian-style dubbels. Who'd've thought they'd be so damn good at it? I've long been a huge fan of the Heather Ale Company's Alba, which is made from Scots pine trees and is fantastically sweet and smooth. I used to get it from the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin, but they've tragically cut back on their beer selection, probably because I was the only one buying the stuff.
They have kept a few things beyond the cans of Guinness for the tourists, however, and on a recent visit I picked up a bottle of Skullsplitter from the Orkney Brewery. I guess I was expecting some class of extra-strength stout (the label was big on history, short on description). It turned out to be a rich brown barley wine and a great excuse to use my Westmalle glass which doesn't get as much use as I'd like. Skullsplitter has a woody-smoky kind of taste, though not in the least overpowering. Damn good stuff, though I think I'd marginally prefer an Alba, given the choice.
And long live Scottish craft brewing.
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