Old Worthy - Old Worthy Scottish Pale Ale 5%
Like some other bloggers, I have been fortunate enough to be sent a pre-release bottle of Old Worthy Scottish Pale Ale from the Old Worthy brewery on the Isle of Skye.
Old Worthy is run by Nick Ravenhall, erstwhile coach of the Norwegian Mens Lacrosse Team at this years European championships, and the term 'worthies' comes from the book 'The Whisky Men' by Gavin D Smith, and refers to distillery workers who cheekily helped themselves to the 'wash' prior to distillation. This malted barley was a form of beer (the process prior to distiilation is very similar to brewing) and the men went to sometimes daring lengths to procure it.
I have taken Nicks advice and poured the beer alongside a Single Malt (Scapa from the Orkney Isles in this instance), as the interesting and well designed press release recommends this as the perfect partner. I am not mixing the beer with the whisky, unlike one distributor who had been dropping the scotch straight into the beer. He was soon re-educated, and enjoys the beer and single malt seperately and correctly now I assume.
It pours a golden amber with a clean white head, and it is a very good looking beer if that doesn't sound too obvious. There is a real peaty aroma coming from the glass underpinned by a subtle malty sweetness. Initially smooth over the tongue it begins to bite pleasingly with a touch of oiliness. The smokey peatyness fills the mouth but this is quickly followed by a honey sweetness and a hint of golden caramel. The finish leaves a drying smokey malt and honey smear on the palate which gradually fades.
Taking a sip of whisky prior to tasting brings the honey to the fore, creating a wonderful, almost peach juice, fruitiness for a brief instance before the smokey peat crashes through, leaving some floral and sweet flavours in their wake.
This is a lovely smokey beer, very unlike those matured in whisky casks that I have tasted and thank goodness nothing like Adelscott, the French beer which I find incredibly overpowering. This isn't gentle, but everything seems to work in harmony, however, when paired with a single malt this beer truly shines. It metamorphosizes into a rich and glorious thing bringing out the characteristics of it's partner but asserting and revealing itself more fully.
I'd like to thank Nick for sending me this beer to review and wish him every success with this venture, and if, like me, you are partial to a good single malt scotch whisky, then I urge you to grab a bottle and experience the symbiotic relationship for yourself. You won't be disappointed.