Scottish-Style Ales - WSJ

February 18, 2015 8:27 PM

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Scottish-Style Ales - WSJ

WHILE POLITICAL ties still bind Scotland, however tenuously, to the rest of Great Britain, the land of the brave has a spirit all its own, and it’s in season. The harshest days of winter—when even the itchiest wool is a comfort, and a humble haggis makes a feast—are the perfect time for the sorts of pleasures the tartan-clad do so well. That certainly includes Scottish ale, a unique, often misunderstood style that can, at its best, possess a sort of rustic chic. Call it the kilt of beers.

First impressions may disconcert. Dark as a moonless heath, thick as Speyside fog, made with heaps of sweet, hearty grain and barely a trace of hops’ cleansing bitterness, Scottish-style beer pours an imposing pint. Yet what appears dense as leaden fruitcake proves wafer-light on the palate, with al...

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