When it opened in the mid 1980s, Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery was an upstart little brewery daring to do things differently in an industry dominated by the likes of Molson and Labatt’s. Since then, it’s grown a whole lot, evolving from a feisty microbrewery to a mainstream craft brewery that has found a mass market appeal while still brewing plenty of tasty beers.
It’s nice to see them acknowledge their quirky microbrewery roots with beers like Big Rock Scottish Style Heavy Ale, part of Big Rock’s Brewmaster’s Series.
The Pitch: From the Big Rock website: “Faced with long winter nights, Scots are like (sic) to seek courage in fine whiskey and strong ale. But where does the Canadian turn for a warm belly on a snowy evening? Ach, no less to the “wee heavy,” a strong Scottish ale aged slowly in oak and emboldened with strong flavours and full body fit for hearty drinkers.”
The Look: Classy. Tartan label design with a black foil wrap around the neck and cap of the bottle. Classic Big Rock lettering. The beer itself is copper, with a head that vanishes quickly.
The Taste: Aroma is sweet with caramel. Taste is also sweet, and the alcohol is very present. Big notes of caramel and wood, with some hop bitterness to counter the malty sweetness. Well suited to winter sipping.
Pairs With: According to the Big Rock website, “Think of game, roast beef, ham, smoked poultry, strong cheese or a stout haggis.” Personally, I wouldn’t pair it with any desserts. I’d go the cheese route, or possibly a charcoal-grilled burger. Something savoury to beat the sweetness into submission.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $14.99 for a six-pack. I’ve seen it at a couple of shops around Calgary.
Value for cash money: Not bad. It’s an interesting beer, and the premium price is worth it.
Nutrition?: It’s beer.
Beerish power: 7% a.b.v.
The verdict: Not my favourite beer in the world, but it’s quite nice. An interesting offering from Big Rock.