Monday, September 17, 2012

Raise the Haggis! Scotch Ale is back!

Exactly one week from today (on September 24),  Smuttynose Scotch Ale will begin shipping for the first time in four years.  Since 2008, we've heard a constant, yet subtle, din of voices trying to resurrect its thistled visage (I'm looking at you specifically, Martha).

If you're not familiar with Scotch Ales as a beer style, they're all about malt sweetness and smoke (at least in the US).  This has lead to a common misconception that all ales brewed in Scotland fit this description, though a closer examination of brewing history shows that Scottish brewers have always brewed a range of styles, including IPA as well as other lighter and more subtle styles.  History is interesting, but some details will always be forgotten; as such, you'd be hard pressed to find a traditional American-style Scotch Ale that doesn't use some portion of smoked malt. 

Smuttynose Scotch Ale is still smoky, though we've substituted beechwood-smoked malt for malt smoked with peat, the "traditional" American choice.  The change results in a softer smoke character that we prefer. 

Another non-traditional aspect of 2012's Scotch Ale, is that it's a blend of non-barrel-aged and barrel-aged beer.  Many moons ago, (all the way back in March), we brewed a small 30 barrel batch of Scotch Ale, which was then aged in red wine barrels for about six months, before being transferred into the main batch just before bottling.

As always, each wholesaler's Scotch Ale allotment will ship with their first order after the 24th.  We will also have bottles for sale at Smuttynose, in addition to a small number of brewery-aged 2008 Scotch Ale bottles recently released from our stash.  Feel free to stop by between 9am-4pm, Monday through Friday as well as during our tour hours which are Friday from 5:30-6:30 and Saturdays at 11am and 1pm.

The Stat Box  
8.2% abv
28 IBU

Starting Extract: 18.05° Plato 
Finishing Extract: 3.1° Plato

Malts: North American 2-Row, Munich, Carastan, Chocolate, Smoked Malt
Hops: Willamette
Mojo: Red Wine Barrel Magic
Yeast: WLP-001 California Ale Yeast
Batch Size: 200 barrels (6200 gallons)

Suggested Food Pairings:  Mutton, smoked fish, empanadas and, of course, haggis.  The malt character in this beer gives it the ability to stand up to spicy foods while the smoke character will pair well with other smoked flavors or with creamy desserts like flan.

Towle Farm Update 9/17/12

Here's a brief update on Towle Farm construction, but we should have more (visually) exciting stuff later in the week.

As of Friday, September 14, most of the work that has gone is site prep or behind the hill from what our webcam can record.

One of the first significant projects to be completed is the construction of two "ponds" on the backside of the property.  Unfortunately, these won't be for fishing, but they do serve a significant purpose toward minimizing the environmental impact on the surrounding land. 

In the above photo, you can see a trench with a concrete barrier at the end of it. This simple system is designed to collect rain and other surface water which will then be slowly dispersed through the slot in the concrete barrier.  Another pond is being built on the back side of the apple orchard.  According to the site supervisor, grass and other vegetation will be planted along the banks soon, which will be very attractive and give an early hint of completion.

If you've been checking the webcam, you've seen lots of dump trucks and excavators, prepping the site so it's stable, flat and ready for the building.  This stage isn't the most visually stimulating part of building a brewery, but it's obviously a vital step.  Geotechnically speaking, the back side of the land has been a bit easier to level out and prepare than areas near the front of the property, which have turned up lots and lots of giant rocks. The flattened land you see to the left is the future home of our warehouse and loading docks, so just imagine a sea of Smuttynose cases and kegs just waiting to ship out all over the East Coast!

 This gaping hole is right next to the barn.  There are still plenty of rocks to be pulled out of this space and plenty of digging left before reinforcing the ground.  Our visitor's center and offices will be on top of this hole.  Every member of the construction crew was excited to get all the rocks off the site, saying that it'll look much better and more like the final version.
This final picture is a draft rendering of what our water treatment plant will might look like.  The plans are still being tweaked, but hopefully the sci-fi look won't disappear.

That's it for now, but please stay tuned for more updates.