In honor of Canada Day, I’ve decided to review a beer that was also made in honor of Canada Day. Strangely, this Scottish brewery has been doing this every year for the past several years. Thought it is made and bottled overseas using overseas ingredients, the labor is apparently one of love for the Great White North.
As usual, Innis and Gunn age their beer in oak whiskey barrels and combine ale and barley malt with Golding hops to get a beer that is dark, rich, and kind of sweet. It also combines the characteristics of both a whiskey and a ruby ale, being both malty, smokey, mossy, and a little bitter.
Appearance: Deep ruby red, bordering on brown, and clear
Nose: Whiskey malts and peat moss
Taste: Sweet toffee, slight hop bitterness giving way to distinct whiskey flavor
Aftertaste: Peat flavor and lingering dryness
Happy Canada to all! And to those Americans still waiting on Independence Day, know that Innis and Gunn has begun releasing another beer in honor of your national holiday as well. And the reviews are comparably good, from what I can tell! I shall have to make another trip to the beer store soon just to be sure
Not long ago, I was tasting this beer’s peer, known as the Dirty Blonde Pale Ale. I couldn’t help but mention this beer in that review, given its obvious quality. And so I went back to the beer store, picked up another 4 pack (which is their thing) and resampled it to make sure my impressions were fresh and informed!
According to the good people at BrewDog, the 5 a.m. Saint is “The Holy Grail of Ruby Ales”. Quite the bold statement, isn’t it? But it’s also in keeping with their commitment to quality in an industry that is still defined by quantity and big budget advertising. So it’s refreshing, no pun intended, to find people who’s commitment to craft brewing is almost… religious in nature. Okay, that pun was definitely intended! Onto the beer…
Appearance: Deep ruby, ever so slightly cloudy indicating high gravity
Nose: Deep tawny malt scent, notes of dry hops and caramel
Taste: Smooth malts with a gentle sweetness, giving way to dry hops
Aftertaste: Complex hop aftertaste, going from floral to dry and bitter
A winner, big time! In fact, when I first tilted one back, I announced publicly that it was the best amber I’d ever had. Again, quite the statement, but it’s definitely a contender for a spot on my list best pale ales! The only question is, which unlucky candidate will it knock out of the running…