Brock St. Scotch Ale

Brock Street Brewery in Whitby, Ontario is within the wider Toronto conurbation, another fairly recent arrival to craft ranks: only a half-dozen years in business.

Yet like other crafts I’ve mentioned it seems a fixture on the scene, due evidently to its popularity and awards it has won (a gold medal for the subject Strong Scotch Ale).

The four principals have extended the line to vodka sodas, sours, and other riffs on modern craft brewing. You can see in current offerings. I had only tried one or two earlier, but nothing impressed like this Strong Scotch Ale:



The first sip, even after a bottle of Guinness (so the palate not “first beer”), shined by the intensity of taste – good taste, which makes all the difference. British-style hops underpin, just 15 IBUs although in palate terms it seems more.

The website itself, after the formal designation, calls it a strong British ale, perhaps a hint it could have been styled strong mild, strong red ale, even ESB, designations I’d hardly quarrel with.

It did remind me of some Scottish beer, Traquair House Ale, also McEwan’s Scotch Ale without its smoky edge. Perhaps even more so, in an opposite part of the British Isles, Harvey’s Christmas Ale.

Michael Jackson the beer bard (1942-2007) reported on early appreciation for Scottish ale by a German eminence, Bismarck or a royal, if memory serves. The term “Burgundy of Scotland” was used, an honorific fully earned by Brock St.’s beer.

Rich malt is to the fore, the strength meeting a suitably high finishing gravity, without that “biscuit” note some reddish ales have I find off-putting (probably used in excess). Everything is smooth, lush, winy/fruity, but full of taste.

Any English or Scottish ale brewer would be wowed by this beer, and in truth I’ve had few beers in Britain as good.

So, having lamented recently the paucity of emphatically British-style beer in North America, this example must be upheld as a beacon.


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