Tag Archives: scotch ale

Fargo Brewing Stone’s Throw

The Fargo Brewing Co. started in the wave of openings at the turn of the decade and characterise their rise as home brewers to pro brewers, with a distinct inspiration stemming from the pacific northwest. They started contract brewing in Wisconsin, opening their own brewery in Fargo in 2014.

Their Scottish Ale, aptly named from I assume the highlander games, has a nice moderate ABV of 4.5%, a welcome relief after so many in the range of five-plus. When I brew at home I aim for around the 3.8% – 4.3% range for most beers (imperial IPAs etc. obviously exceptions) as I find this best suits my palate and desires. Being in the United States is a constant experience of higher ABVs; you do get used to it.

This beer is copper-acorn colour with a plastic-y white head. It smells of apple and pine, a little pancake batter, a little sweetness. The mouthfeel is chewy and sticky like a wad of sap. Major flavours march in unison: honey, biscuit, butter, raisins, a touch of bitterness and no hop flavour. It’s all malt, all the way. Not a bad beer at all, it put me in the perfect mood to see a film at the historic Fargo Theatre.

And what a place that is! Independently owned, heritage architecture, cheap tickets and zero advertisements before the film screenings. OK, I’m getting distracted.

I bought a pint of this beer at The Boiler Room, Fargo, North Dakota. It’s a pretty straight-forward, subterranean bar with little to distinguish it, although it seems to put a bit more effort into its tap selection than its competition in downtown Fargo.

Spinnakers Hop Scotch Scottish IPA

Spinnakers brew out of Victoria, British Columbia and have a broad range of alluring beers. They are an old brewery and brewpub by craft beer standards – in fact they were involved in the law amendments allowing brewpubs to open properly in Canada, as I understand it – their blog is regularly updated and they even offer accommodation at the brewpub for customers who over-indulge.

On their beer range, I would love to get my hands on some Hoptoria. It has probably never even set foot in Australia. In this globalised world it seems at once both justified and absurd that I demand fresh, obscure IPAs from northwest Canada in my fridge … but dammit, I want one. Anyway. I tried a different one of their beers – the Hop Scotch.

Right off the bat – this Scottish Ale is not particularly bitter and probably won’t fit into what people expect from a North American IPA these days. It is a fine beer, however. Low carbonation creates an off-white head resting on sappy brown coloured liquid. A very sweet malt aroma takes charge, masking the Super Galenas hops used; maybe there was no dry hop addition?

Flavours are mostly caramel, a bit astringent, some roasted malts present. It tastes heavy, delicious but unremarkable. A beer for the bitter seaside; it would go nicely with sea salt and pickles. This is a strong scotch ale with zero hop character in flavour or aroma; buy for its sweet Scottish charm, not for its bitterness.

I bought this bottled beer from the Liquor Depot, Kitsilano, British Columbia and drank it nearby.