A wee little review heading into Christmas.

I was curious what the folks over at Summit were going to ferment up next as the second offering in their recently introduced Unchained Series, considering they set the bar pretty high with their very well done Kolsch. Turns out beer number two is well-suited to the cold winter months, a Scottish 90/- conceived by brewer Eric Blomquist.

Summit took a more traditional approach with their version of a Wee Heavy, opting to brew with heather, a purple flowering plant native to the Scottish highlands. These days, the herb is more commonly used in making Scottish liqueur Drambuie. But for many Scottish brewers who didn’t have ready access to hops, it served as the primary bittering agent, providing a touch of balance to their malt-forward ales. Interestingly, the underside of the heather leaf also contains a fungus that is known to cause hallucinogenic reactions, making proper cleaning of the plant before brewing of utmost importance (unless you’re into that sort of thing). 

Summit’s Scottish 90/- poured with a deep burgundy and maroon coloring, with crystal clarity. Rich caramel, dark fruit and a bit of smoke in the nose with a very unique and enjoyable herbal quality that finishes out the aroma, likely the heather. Malty sweet taste, a nice combination of roasted flavors and slightly caramelized malt, somewhat reminiscent to what you might get with a stein bier. The hop/heather bitterness helps balance out the sweetness, but not enough to draw attention away from the trademark malt backbone. The beer’s 7% ABV is well-hidden, making this a dangerously drinkable selection.

Another fine offering from Summit, get some before it goes away. Sounds like the third in the series will be an India Rye Ale brewed by Mike Lundell.

Rating: A-