If you enjoy drinking local brews, you've probably sipped a Scottish ale at Barley's or taken home a sixer of Scottish...

About the style

If you enjoy drinking local brews, you've probably sipped a Scottish ale at Barley's or taken home a sixer of Scottish made by Columbus Brewing Company. You'll remember the style as slightly sweet, malty and containing more bread notes than bitter hops.

Now imagine all of those delightful characteristics on overdrive. That's a Scotch ale - bigger, badder, boozier. These usually are deep copper or amber, low on the bitterness, heavy on the grains, a bit fruity and downright delicious.

And in Scotland, the style is known as "wee heavy," which is really fun to say.

About the beer

I usually cringe when samplers stick their nose into beer and chew on it like it's a steak. That changed when I began to taste Scotch ales - and the fantastic Dirty Bastard in particular. After a few sips, I was almost singing my love for this beer - not with the drunkard's indiscriminate affection, but with the beer-lover's joy in discovering something new.

Caramel, raisin and molasses dominate the early whiffs, and they're trailed by aromas of apricot, smoke and candied yams. Those define the taste, as well. You can smell and taste the alcohol, reminding you not to trifle with this beer.

For an even more intense experience, try the Backwoods Bastard, which is aged in bourbon barrels. It's available in November in limited qualities.

Want John Ross to review your favorite suds? Email jross@columbusalive.com.

Photo by Will Shilling