Scottish culture has had a deep influence in New Zealand.
Communities from Southland to Waipu celebrate their history with Highland Games, and Scottish culture has influenced our clothing, cuisine and language. This was as far as the Scottish diaspora could ever reach, yet many came this far, and still do.
This Scottish influence hasn’t extended to our beer styles. Our traditional draughts are a local interpretation if the English Mild. US styles have had strong representation from craft brewers, but there’s only been a handful of Scottish-influenced beers produced here. Perhaps it’s a Presbyterian thing…
So here’s to them, and, of course, to acknowledge the Highlanders’ win yesterday. “Here’s tae us, wah’s like us, damn few, and they’re a’ deid, mair’s the pity!”
Renaissance Brewing Stonecutter Scotch Ale (7%) is widely available, it’s been around for years, the go-to Scotch Ale for New Zealand.
It pours a clear brown-red with a thick tan head. Toffee nose with light wood-smoke initial flavour and lingering dry finish. Malt-driven and a hearty winter warmer.
Many beer proselytes advocate Stonecutter as a beer for red wine fans. It’s certainly in similar territory, and is an excellent match to roast venison. To me it’s an acquired taste and one that appeals more to beer drinkers than wine drinkers. More for me then.
Invercargill Brewery Men’n Skurrts (7%) is back in its 2015 edition and is available now. Opaque mahogany brown with dense, cream head. Smoky aroma and smoky phenolic flavour.
If Stonecutter parallels red wine, Men’n Skurrts parallels Scotch whisky. No surprise there – that’s the brewer’s intention, and the result of using peat-smoked malt. Sip this one after your venison roast, while sitting by the fire and enjoying your pipe.
Review beer supplied by Invercargill Brewery – cheers!
ParrotDog’s SleuthHound (6.6%) and Yeastie Boy’s Hud-a-Wa’ Strong (6.8%) are two other Kiwi takes on Scottish-style ales. Both were limited releases last year and are hard to find, but they are available now through Regional Wines & Spirits and well worth grabbing. They’ll be a year old but nay the worse for that. I’ve a couple in my cellar (with a 2015 Men’n Skurrts to keep them company) to be opened next winter.