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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Beer Here: Stone of Scone Scotch Ale from the Great Dane
Slainte Mhor!
Credit:Kristian Knutsen

To name its beer, the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company often uses local history and well-known places, like Devil's Lake and Black Earth. The brewers looked overseas for Stone of Scone Scotch Ale, which is named for the stone upon which Scottish kings were crowned.

Legend also has it that half the Stone of Scone was given to the great Cormac McCarthy of Munster in Ireland for supporting Robert the Bruce in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. That half became the famous Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle near Cork. Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to offer the gift of persuasive speech. Therefore be warned: A little too much of the Great Dane's Stone of Scone, and your speech could similarly be affected.

What is it? Stone of Scone Scotch Ale from the downtown Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company.

Style: Scotch ales are strong ales, also known as the "wee heavy." They are characterized by deep, malty aroma and taste. Hops, meanwhile, are not native to Scotland and are not an assertive component to this beer. That leaves room for the caramel and chocolate flavors associated with the malt to dominate. Peaty, earthy or smoky tones are not uncommon in the aroma and finish. Alcohol content can be quite high, ranging from 6.5% to 10% by volume.

Background: The Stone of Scone Scotch Ale is one of ten standard beers served at the Great Dane's downtown location. This beer is not bottled, but it is available at the brewpub in pints and take-home (half-gallon) growlers.

Tasting notes:

  • Aroma: A light, malty aroma with hints of earthiness.
  • Appearance: Very deep clear bronze with copper hues. Not much head.
  • Texture: Full-bodied, round texture.
  • Taste: Lots of firm caramel malty flavor, with a faint roastedness in the background.
  • Finish/Aftertaste: Lingering caramel and chocolate malty tones.

Glassware: The English pint or dimpled mug will accentuate this full-bodied ale. Both glasses offer wide mouths to allow the aroma to explode, while the curvature of the English pint or the handle on the mug adds to the big beer feel of the Stone of Scone.

Pairs well with: The aggressive maltiness of the Stone of Scone will stimulate the appetite ahead of a meal. Its malty caramel and chocolate flavors are wonderful compliments to the sweetness of wild game, turkey and gravy, or even barbecue ribs.

Rating: Four Bottle Openers

(I am using a one to four bottle opener scale: four is a great beer, distinctive, you'll have this over others; three is a beer you enjoy, reliable, close to its described style; two is problematic, lacks distinction, but worth having again; one is a beer that isn't true to its style, you would not recommend it to a friend.)

The Consensus: This beer does not have enough ratings to be judged on Beer Advocate, but it received a 79 from Rate Beer.

The Verdict: This beer is a superb beer for heavy meals, especially those hearty dishes associated with Thanksgiving. A growler will be on my holiday table!

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