Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration Highway 78 Scotch Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Next up in the Stone Collaboration series is the Highway 78 Scotch Ale brewed in conjunction with Green Flash and Pizza Port – making this one an all-California affair. This one came in a 12 oz. bottle for $4.99. I couldn’t find the product page on the Stone website, but I did find their press release, so here is what they say:

Green Flash/Pizza Port Carlsbad/Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale (named after the 18 mile stretch of asphalt that unites us) is an atypical creation for all three breweries. It’s a very malty (read: NOT HOPPY) style of beer that we formulated with three different crystal malts, chocolate malt, and English pale malt to provide a rich, bready body. East Kent Goldings and Target hops provide a very modest backbone of peppery hops, but the flavor is unequivocally malt-driven. Scotch Ale yeast and a touch of raw sugar called sucanat add a distinctive complexity to this hefty 8.8% abv beer.

SONY DSCI should make the disclaimer now that I am really not a big fan of the Scotch Ale style of beer – I tend to find them heavy and syrupy and not really all that enjoyable. That being said, I really did review this beer with an open mind.

The beer pours ruby in color, lighter than I was expecting from a Scotch Ale. Lots of malt and slight notes of peat and smoke show on the nose – this beer is definitely not going to be confused with any other style. The beer is very malt forward, as you would expect, with a slight sweetness and a long finish with notes of smoked malt and grain. Not as overpowering as many Scotch ales and lighter on the malt than I was expecting, I just wish that there was more hop character present than I got – the hops were barely noticeable. There was balance though and the beer did not drink like the 8.8% ABV that it is. Overall, this beer was pretty darn tasty, especially for the style.

Stone Collaboration Highway 78 Scotch Ale drives down the road to the pizza shop and flashes us with a solid 3 kilts out of 5.

30 Great IPAs to Drink Before You Die?

By Iron Chef Leftovers recently came out with a list of the 30 IPA’s to drink before you die. This list is supposedly complied by the following “beer experts”:
•Mike Lovullo, specialty brands manager for Union Beer Distributors
•Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43; host of Beer Sessions Radio; founder of the Good Beer Seal
•Julian Kurland, Beer Director, The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
•Samuel Merritt, founder of Civilization of Beer
•Greg Doroski, brewer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
•Mary Izett, beer journalist and host of Fuhmentaboudit!
•Anthony Finley, beer server at Proletariat
•John Holl, beer journalist and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook
•Chris Schonberger, editor-in-chief of First We Feast

Do you want to guess how many Washington IPA’s made the list? Well, the answer to that would be 0. Think Oregon would fare better? You’d be wrong; exactly 0 Oregon IPA’s made the list. California dominated the list (no surprise) and I think that the beer list, because the experts all live on the east coast, really limited themselves to beers that are readily available there. Oh, and Pliny didn’t make the list, which is a huge surprise, considering Dogfish Head 120 Minute did, so they did not limit themselves to just single IPA’s. This is hardly a must drink before you die list.

The couple I agreed with –
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA – this is one of the better ones on the market.
Green Flash West Coast IPA – another great IPA from CA.

The one’s that I didn’t:
Cigar City Humidor Cedar Aged Jai Alai IPA – had it once, it was horrible.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – meh, it is a fine IPA, but not one I would say that you have to run out and try.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – another one that is fine, but Lagunitas Sucks is much better.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Wookey Jack – reviewed it a while back and it was fine, but not really going to blow you away.
Smuttynose IPA – I love Smuttynose beers, EXCEPT for their IPA. It is really non-descript.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra – Really, 2 Sierra Nevada beers on the list? They aren’t that good.

I doubt that you can honestly say that the “didn’t agree” with beers are any better than say Boundary Bay, Port Townsend, Ninkasi, Deschutes, Full Sail, Diamond Knot or Elysian’s IPAs. I think this might mean it is time to set up another blind IPA tasting…