awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 7, 2009
On tap at the Irvine location. Mostly transparent, coppery brown colored body with some cherry hues and a thin head of fizzy ivory. Clean, malty aromas of caramel accompanied by faint fruit esters. A suggestion of peat smoke comes through in the nose, but the malt and restrained fruity esters dominate. Medium light bodied, moderately carbonated mouthfeel with a pleasantly dry texture, yet substantial enough malt body. Flavors start out with a moderate cakey malt sweetness, layered with caramel and fruitcake. This soon gives way to an over-powering peat smoke character, which is far too much for my palate, but fascinating nonetheless. This beer is the tasting primer for those who want to identify the peat smoke character. Somewhat acrid, but even develops a bit of a hammy, bacon character in the finish. Even after tasting the wallop of peat smoke, I still am only getting the faintest whiff in the aroma. Interesting, well executed, fun beer to sample, but way too over the top on the peat smoke malt for simple drinking enjoyment. In terms of craftsmanship, I think this would be a wonderful scottish ale without (or far less) peat smoke.