Scotch-style ale is a blessed rarity. Not too many breweries endeavor to make their own variation, and those that do generally do an amazing job. With the exception of one ill-fated, super-sour bottle of Moylan's Kilt Lifter, which seemed a bit past its prime, every time a bottle with the word “Scotch” on it has been opened, it has been greedily devoured. AleSmith’s Wee Heavy is exactly what it claims to be: Scotch-style ale. What lies within the flawless packaging of this $7.99 wonder is akin to The Clash playing Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves,” or Kim Gordon singing Iggy Pop: the perfect cover. This is not an attempt at making archetypal Scotch ale. Instead, there is a righteous conciliation of old and new. AleSmith makes intensely high-octane beers: This is McEwen’s on really pristine speed. This brew looks almost like a porter in the glass—deep and limitless with glints of red trying to escape the void. The flavors are familiar to both the roots and the revision. The distinct sweet caramel and molasses flavors that sent us back to our first taste of Scotch ale preempt strong, roasted malts and an aftertaste that is equally alcoholic and complex … weed ghee and whiskey in front of a parlor fire. Heavy.
Why do we love pho so much? I remember when I was a kid I used to call it “everything” soup, because it appeared to contain pretty much everything. I’ve heard it called “weird noodle stuff,” “the stuff with the bean sprouts,” and my personal fave, “the limey-noodle-sprout thing in the great big bowl.” I took someone out to eat at a local Vietnamese place a while back who, after a few big bites, proclaimed, “this has a lot of vegetables—it’s like a liquid salad.”