In celebration of the perfect fall beer and the fact that KU’s basketball season starts tonight (nominally, anyway – ’tis the first exhibition game, during which my team will warm up by trouncing Pitt State*)(ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK, BABY), I’m forcing myself to find the energy to tell you all of a wonderful beer which many of you have had and many more of you should.
Name: Dirty Bastard**
Origin: Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
I drank this: flopped at home. I like flopping.
The obligatory crap photo, which does not at all do justice to the color of the beer, which is a warm, coppery caramel color:
The beer has a caramelly-malty smell, heavy and rich and almost nutty. There’s almost a hint of dark fruits in the background. The alcohol is well-hidden in the nose – smelling it, I wouldn’t guess this was a high-octane beer.
Flavor-wise, it starts with a hit of dark, raisiny fruit, followed quickly by nutty malts, caramel, a bite of hops (without a particularly strong or bitter hop flavor), a touch of alcohol, and the slightest hint of yeast. The hops provide a balance to the strong maltiness without giving the beer a bitter taste – they prevent the beer from becoming overly sweet (despite the fact that the only words I can find to describe it should make it sound pretty sugary). It’s like the hops provide a structure for the malts to play around in, so that things stay balanced without straying from the character of a Wee Heavy (the way I appreciate malts in superhoppy beers for the backbone they provide the hops to stand on). The mouthfeel is rich and thick, more in a creamy way than a syrupy or velvety way.
For a Scotch Ale, this is just about perfect. The only beer in this style *possibly* more perfect is a Founders Backwoods Bastard, which clocks in closer to 10.5% and which is, for me at least, emphatically a one-beer type of thing (“one beer” as in “two would have me under the table and counting ceiling tiles). If you can find some near you, grab it. I had to trek to Missouri to get some. It was worth it.
*for those of you not from Kansas, I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about the University of Pittsburgh (i.e., Pitt, i.e., my husband’s alma mater, i.e. a real basketball opponent. Pitt State is a tiny school in tinier Pittsburg, KS, and while it’s a lovely school and a lovely town filled with lovely people (I know a veritable shit ton of people who went there in pursuit of music degrees of varying types), their basketball team is going to lose. Badly.
**please note: whenever “bastard” appears in the name of a beer, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be flipping amazing. Just saying.