Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scotsmen on the Moon

Decided to stop by the Lunar Brewing Co. in Villa Park after work today, just to see what was new. I ended finding a mighty Wee Heavy, served in a giant thistle-shaped glass for $6. This chestnut-hued ale was rather straightforward, but tasty with caramel malts balanced by a judicious amount of hops and unusual spicy character. (The beer is pictured to the right.) There were many other treats at Lunar Brewing Co., including a 10 percent alcohol anniversary beer from Surly Brewing Co. in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Very intriguing. What monster could Surly have created? I was tempted, but after 21 ounces of the Wee Heavy (and remembering that I had another Scotch Ale at home) I decided I should probably just head home. However, I will back soon to the Lunar, to sample the house beer along with the fantastic line up of guest beers that included craft brews such as Two Brothers Hop Juice, Founders Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, Victory Golden Monkey and Three Floyds Robert the Bruce. Many other craft brews and imported lagers and ales were to be found in the cooler; some more reasonably priced than others. The other house beers included the popular Moondance IPA, Marzen, raspberry cream ale, oatmeal stout, a Maibock and a nut brown ale. Lunar Brewing has a page on Myspace, which is updated fairly often.

Once I home, I poured a bottle conditioned Arcadia Scotch Ale and decided to make the evening a mini-Scotch Ale tasting. I've had some Arcadia beers before and the brewery is a very interesting traditional English operation. The Arcadia Scotch immediately differed from the Lunar Wee Heavy. The color was a darker chestnut and it had a more powerful aroma of raisins. The carbonation, was good. I've found Arcadia beers to be fairly highly carbonated, so I gave the beer a more vigorous pour to help ensure a smooth mouthfeel. The bone white head didn't last too long and dropped leaving a tight collar of foam. The first sip was smooth and cleanly malty with some toffee character emerging towards the finish, which ends up being a mouth full of raisin character and alcohol laced with a roasted grain and hop bitterness. The heavy caramel malt flavors lingered on my tongue creating a long finish that was just short of cloying.

Arcadia Scotch Ale is definitely one of the good ones. The brewery is inconsistent: I've had good beers, outstanding beers and poor ones from them, but I have to congratulate them on the Scotch Ale.

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