John Lyda, Brewmaster and vice-president at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina recently said, "If you don't have to guess what flavor is in the beer, there's too much!"
I found this enormously encouraging, because as you know my beer reviewing is almost all guesswork. Tonight I'm going to guess with a beer brewed in Asheville, although not from Highland. It's Wee-Heavy-Er, a Scotch Ale that I must have picked up at Total Wine cuz it doesn't have a price tag like the Beer Exchange's do. It was a while back so I don't remember how much it cost. (Actually, I just remembered I bought this at Earth Fare -- still don't know how much, not much around 5 bucks.)
The first thing that stands out about the label is that it says "French Broad" but it actually depicts a Scottish dude. That, I say that is a joke, son. It's actually from the French Broad Brewing Company. According to exploreasheville.com:
Asheville has long been famous for its stunning scenery, lively mountain music and famous attractions such as Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway. And now, it’s become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast. Asheville’s brewing scene has garnered so much enthusiasm that it was named the winner of the Examiner’s "Beer City, USA" poll in 2010.
The Asheville area is home to ten craft breweries. On any given day, about 50 local beers can be enjoyed in Asheville, served on draft and in bottles. Tourists regularly travel here to sample and savor Asheville’s beer flavors, ranging from creamy, mild golden ales to robust Belgian-style brews.
So if you're planning your next beer vacation. . .
All right, enough messing, let's get to guessing.
APPEARANCE: Very interesting color. Dark brown, almost cola colored but held up to the light it turns a deep amber, and I swear it looks redder and slightly darker at the top of the glass than the bottom, but that could be a trick of this glass's shape. Small off-white head that faded fairly quickly though not entirely. And not even enough lace to make a g-string for Barbie.
AROMA: Moss, some nuttiness or something equally earthy -- but again, I'm guessing.
TASTE: Nice balance of flavors, more malt than anything else but hops demand your attention as well. For those of you keeping score at home this ale's specs are (according to the label) IBU - 24, SRM 14.5 and OG 17 degrees P. IBUs are individual bittering units or something similar, OG is original gravity, and I have no idea what SRM means, but since we're guessing I'll go with "Scottish Real Manliness."
I really do like a balanced brew like this. It's more fun to sip and pay attention to than one that's overbalanced one way or another. Here the second it gets a little sweet a little bit of bitter pops up.
MOUTH FEEL: Nice medium body. It feels chocolatey even though it doesn't taste like chocolate if that makes any sense. I mean, it leaves your tongue happy, like it had some chocolate.
BURP TASTE: Satisfying enough that you wish it had more bubbles.
DRINKABILITY: If you can't tell from this rave review, I find this beer very drinkable. The ABV is not sky high at 7% but it could sneak up on you because the alcohol taste is not pronounced.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and -- assuming I don't run off to Asheville and hop on one of their brews cruises -- we will find out what happens to bad little boys and girls. Stay tuned.