Lake Louie Brewing of Arena has only been around for seven years. It evolved on the rural property of Tom Porter where he and friends used to make homebrew in his driveway. Two major expansions later, Lake Louie beers are commonly found in many Madison area liquor and grocery stores.
However, the brewery's fall seasonal Louie's Reserve, or L.R. as it is known, might best be called "limited release," because it's only made once a year and brewery owner Tom Porter is secretive about when he actually delivers this beer for sale. Porter says, "L.R. has such as following that if fans of this beer find out when I'm delivering it, they follow my truck and try to buy it on the street. So all I say is 'fall,' and you have to watch for it!"
Okay, L.R. cult members -- this Beer (is) Here!
What is it? Louie's Reserve Scotch Ale from Lake Louie Brewing
Style: Scotch ale, also known as the wee heavy. Expect sweet caramel malty flavors to dominate. There can be a light amount of hop bitterness, but this is a malt-focused beer. Full-bodied and high alcohol.
Background: The number-one ranked Scotch ale on Beer Advocate, Louie's Reserve just hit store shelves. Tom Porter only made 333 cases of it this year, twice the amount of 2006, and all there is to offer is now in local stores. It costs about $12 per six-pack, and will likely be gone by the end of the month. It makes a great holiday gift for that special beer fan.
Louie's Reserve was the very first beer Tom Porter made when he began Lake Louie Brewing Company in 2000. It's a stronger, maltier version of his year-round standard beer Warped Speed Scotch Ale. L.R. comes in at about 10% alcohol by volume.
- Aroma: Caramel maltiness.
- Appearance: Deep bronze color, with ruby highlights. A thick, marbled, tan head.
- Texture: Full bodied.
- Taste: Lots of sweet caramel maltiness.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Malty with long lingering warmth.
Glassware: I prefer a chalice or goblet, which encourages slow sipping, the better to appreciate this beer's caramel maltiness, especially as it warms. For authenticity, you might try the thistle glass, a symbol of Scotland.
Pairs well with: A great beer for stews, heavy soups and winter comfort foods rich in their own sweetness. Wild game and pork match well, as do pastas steeped in Alfredo. For a very special treat, try this beer for dessert with crème brûlée!
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 Verdict: If you like big, malty, full-flavored, full-bodied brews, this one is exceptional. If you are fortunate to find a six-pack, put a bottle back for a few months and taste it side-by-side with next spring's dopplebocks -- it'll be a great taste comparison to celebrate the passing of winter.