Ten Penny Bit – Scottish Ale
Old Nation Brewing Company
One of the best things about my review hiatus is the embarrassment of riches on the shelves of the liquor store. My last trip was tough, with brewery after brewery that’s come onto the scene staring at me, begging to be reviewed. This was an easy choice, though — since the first time I had a beer from the Scotch/Scottish/Celtic Ale family I’ve loved them (it was Sinuous, from North Peak, by the way- but they’ve changed the recipe, so don’t go chasing that waterfall). When I saw this Scottish ale from a Michigan brewery, one I’d never tasted, I had to grab it — and that’s what I bring to you today.
The Brewer’s Pitch:
One of my new policies is that I won’t stretch this section. If the brewer doesn’t have much to say about their product I’m not putting words in their mouth. Ten Penny is the first “beneficiary” of this: Ten Penny is biscuity and toasty with hints of caramel. Michigan hops are used cautiously, just enough to balance the heavier taste of the malt. So it’s a straight-up Scottish ale, in other words.
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Ten Penny is dark red-copper, hazy with a creamy pale tan head. The nose is very subtle, bits of sweet sugar and toast. The beer is very light and crisp- it hits the palate and roof of the mouth without settling to coat your tongue. The flavor is very delicate as a whole. Very fine malt is balanced by mild bitterness that keeps it very clean and leaves not much aftertaste. As the beer develops, the bitterness develops as well into a dry hoppy tingle that lingers well after the rest of the flavor. The caramel sweetness doesn’t really develop, nor does the true toasted flavor.
Old Nation has pulled it off, and disappointed me with a Scottish ale. This one is thin enough to be nearly watery, and doesn’t bring any of the warm crisp roast or sweet elements that I’m looking for. I suppose it’s on the refreshing end of the spectrum, but lighter beers do a better job of that. Stick to Loch Down, Old Chub, or Scotty Karate if you want a better taste of how good this style can be.
The Bottom Line:
Oh, that shopping trip where I had so many options my head was spinning? I realized when I got home that I’d ended up with 3 ales and 3 stouts, so that’s fun.