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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Vanilla wood releases sweetness in Scotch ale

This week I tasted the third beer in a series I’m doing: Innis & Gunn’s Rum Cask. This beer is a scotch ale, which is a family of beer seen only occasionally here in the United States.

These beers are typically very malt focused, so they are casualties of America’s obsession with hops.

I’m beginning a series on these beers, as most people are unaware that they exist, and many people will really enjoy them.

The birth of Innis & Gunn is actually one of the most interesting brewery stories that I have ever heard. Master brewer Dougal Sharp was enlisted by a whiskey distiller to help produce an ale-finished whiskey.

Sharp succeeded, composing a special recipe to season the barrels before they were used to age the whiskey.

The beer was actually poured out until a couple of the laborers at the distillery tried it and realized that it was fantastic.

Sharp then quit his job and began perfecting the beer, which he did over the course of a year, before finally releasing Original.

Several other beers have followed, including this week’s, which is aged in casks that have already contained rum.

Each of these beers is aged for a minimum of 77 days in the barrels.

This beer should be served in a pint glass, and I think it will actually pair really well with a variety of foods.

Anything sweet and savory should work well, but spicy foods would work better with an IPA.

I actually think this would go well with chicken, which a lot of American pale ales overpower, and a plate of braised short ribs would also be amazing with this beer.

Sharp cheeses should pair quite well too; cheddar is definitely my go-to sharp cheese, but others like Asiago will also be good, and even a sharper blue like Stilton will actually work quite well too. I’m not sure how richer, creamier cheeses like brie will pair, however.

This beer has a brown color with little carbonation and no discernible head.

The oakiness certainly comes off in the finish, along with subtle vanilla notes.

The beer is sweet with a toffeelike flavor that sits on the back of your palate.

I highly recommend trying this beer, as it is something genuinely new and interesting to me that I hadn’t had before.

The wood pairs perfectly with the nice maltiness of these beers, and I just loved the beautiful vanilla flavor imparted by the wood; this is partially because I’m a bourbon drinker, but many other people will enjoy this as well because vanilla ice cream is a common comfort food.