The Halftime Pint: Williams Bros. Scottish Session


One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, areearly in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.

The Beer:  Scottish Session, Williams Bros. Brewing Company, Alloa, Scotland

The Pub:  The Queen Vic, in Northeast DC

What you need to know: Williams Bros. is a relatively young brewer in the UK.  The brewery began out of a homebrew supply shop in 1988, with a translated version of an old Gaelic recipe for Fraoch, a beer that uses heather in place of hops (slightly different from a gruit, as the grain bill is closer to a wee heavy than a pale ale).  The titular brothers began by contract brewing Fraoch and three other historical recipes as Heather Ale Ltd., before moving into their  own digs in Craigmill in 1998.  In 2004, in need of larger spaces, the Williams Bros. took over the Forth brewery in Alloa, where they put their own name on the bottle and began to brew more modern styles of beer.

Golden Ale is a close cousin of the English Pale Ale covered in past editions; the lone differences are in the color, which is slightly less amber than a true pale ale. But we’re talking by a matter of degrees here.  In reality, golden ale is somewhere between pale ale and best bitter.

So, About this Beer: Pours a pale gold with a thin white head. Faint straw and yeast aromas as you raise the glass.  Big mineral flavors at the front, rounding to a nicely balanced finish of straw, malt and a hard hop snap, with a slight hint of bubblegum.

The Verdict:  This is a really solid pale ale.  The complexity of flavors was delightful from pour to finish, and the alcohol content was slight enough that you could drink it all day.  Much like the Captain Lawrence Kolsch reviewed earlier in the spring, it’s a perfect beer for a warm spring day, and I’d consider it a worthy replacement to hand to that friend that insists on Stella as his or her “classy beer.”  And for the aspiring beer geek, it’s a wonderful break from the hop-bomb IPAs that have become a bit of a shibboleth over the past few years.  It’s just plain good.


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