Whenever I travel I like to duck into local beer stores to see what’s on the shelves. I go in to look for bottles I haven’t seen before, knowing that I always leave with a couple new beers to add to the list. On my last trip to Banff I thought I’d poke my head into Townhouse Liquor, a small liquor store with a great beer selection, and that’s how I came across Russell Brewing Company‘s Angry Scotch Ale.
Appearance – I took home the 650ml bomber bottle and poured it into a tulip, watching the two-finger thick head develop at the glass. The head is a nice tan colour made up of large bubbles. This is a beautiful beer. It’s a vary dark red that glows when you hold it up to the light. The head dissipated quickly and there was little lacing on the glass.
Aroma – Taking a big whiff of this beer is heavenly. It invades your nostrils with toasted goodness, full of molasses and bread scents that give you warm feelings all over. There is a nice caramel aroma that is present without being sickly. I wish they made a cologne of eau de Angry Scotch Ale scent – I would dab that on my neck and create a trail of beer geeks to follow me around wherever I go. We would talk about hops, malts, and the up-an-coming beer scene in Calgary. We would spend the day smelling like Angry Scotch Ale and eating chicken wings. Please get on this, Russell.
Taste – I was excited to try this beer, and tasting it, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. The coffee, molasses, and oak flavours are the like kids at the front of the classroom who raise their hands at every question – but enjoyable. They cannot be missed. You can try all you want to look past them, but they are there in your face – and you wouldn’t want it any other way. This is a beer that packs a wallop of flavour. There is oak, caramel, and smoke that come through on the finish that balance the flavour.
Feel – I was expecting a heavier beer when I first poured it into the glass. This doesn’t mean that it’s a light drinking number, but with the colour and the description, I was thinking it was going to be a little heavier. It’s easy to drink, but you will want to take your time with it. There is a lot of flavour here to gulp down too fast – and it’s great, savour it.
Overall – This rivals a couple of the one-time-only runs that I was able to sample at Caskapalooza for the best beer I’ve had this summer – and I’ve been lucky enough to try a pretty wise selection of brews this summer. It’s perfectly balanced with complex flavours, while maintaining its drinkability. It is aromatic, intricate, and a true gem. This is a beer that I am going to recommend to friends when they ask for beer selection advice, and I am going to use that as an excuse to buy another bottle for myself. I am so glad that I put my head in for a look around that small liquor store in Banff. I am sure I’ll be back soon to pick over their shelves.