This spring, famed independent Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn – known for oak aging all its beers – goes native and brings a taste of Scotland to its latest seasonal release and limited edition. Introducing two new beers that are currently available in the U.S.: the seasonal Innis & Gunn Rare Oak Pale Ale aged over Scottish oak and the limited edition Highland Ale aged over oak infused with 18 Year Old Highland Malt Whisky.
RARE OAK PALE ALE (Seasonal)
In this seasonal release, the craft pioneers of oak-aged beer have turned to Scottish Oak, last used in brewing over four centuries ago to age this brew, then add indigenous herbs to create a beer that pays homage to Scotland’s brewing past and epitomises the company’s bent for innovation. Crisp, aromatic and light, Rare Oak Pale Ale is made in a traditional pale ale style and carries high hop aroma and bitterness to complement the spicier, drier notes from the Scottish oak. Elderflower has been added during the maturation process, an herb to complement the hops and lighten up the fragrance. And finally, air-dried Sweet Gale, an herb grown and harvested in the West Highlands of Scotland is infused into the beer.
Sweet Gale was used by Scottish brewers in the Middle Ages as an alternative to imported hops because of its aromatic – and mood enhancing – properties. According to Stephen Harrod Buhner, award-winning American author of more than 20 books on nature and herbal medicines, the ancient beer was fabled to have had mildly narcotic qualities that would ‘stimulate the mind, create euphoria and enhance sexual drive.’ (To note, Innis & Gunn does not purport that Rare Oak Pale Ale carries the same qualities today.)
HIGHLAND ALE (Limited Edition)
This limited edition brings together the craftsmanship of whisky makers and brewers who together have been perfecting the art of maturation for centuries. Despite endless investigation and study, it is a craft that can still only be partly explained with science. The other part remains a complete mystery – which makes the whole thing so exhilarating, for both the maker and drinker alike. Innis & Gunn has selected its malts and hops to create a balanced and unexpectedly light Scotch Ale, which is the ideal foundation and starting point for the oak to work its magic.
Highland Ale has been matured using Innis & Gunn’s pioneering Oakerators® over oak chips infused with 18 Year Old Highland Malt Whisky. The beer has a fragrant aroma, rich taste with a smooth finish, making for a beautifully balanced ale.
Founder and master brewer of Innis & Gunn, Dougal Sharp, said he wanted to bring a taste of Scotland to the U.S. in championing native Scottish ingredients: “Whether we are maturing our beer over Scottish Oak or with 18 Year Old Malt Whisky, Rare Oak Pale Ale and Highland Ale are two beers I am extremely proud to have made. Each represents the true character of my native Scotland and stands on its own as a proud member of the Innis & Gunn portfolio, yet they are united in their reflection of the passion and pride I put into each beer.”
Innis & Gunn’s core range of beers comprises ORIGINAL (matured in ex-bourbon casks and in the Oakerators®), RUM AGED (matured over oak infused with Navy and Demerara rums) and TOASTED OAK IPA (triple-hopped British style of traditional IPA). www.innisandgunn.com