For #38, the Knights arrived at Locals Only last Thursday not to drink Ron Burgundy's favorite, scotch whiskey, but rather Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.
This wasn't the first Scotch Ale to be reviewed by the Knights and likely won't be the last as many us found this style to be pretty agreeable. Other Scotch Ales that have been up for review are Broad Ripple Brewpub's Wee Alec Heavy, and Three Floyds Robert the Bruce.
Here are the reviews...
Dear Dirty Bastard:
Are you a Belgian in disguise?
You're a hard beer to pin down, Dirty Bastard. Your label says you're a Scotch Ale, so I expected all roasted maltiness from you. And you are indeed malty, but you're still mysteriously different from other Scotch Ales. Your nose should give me coffee and caramel. Instead, I smell dark fruit, brown sugar, and raisins. Your mouthfeel should be thick and chewy. Instead, it's silky, sliding across my tongue in a unique way. Your flavor should give me coffee and chocolate. Instead, I taste a swirl of nuttiness, dark fruit, and a little bit of cherry.
You are an exquisite, 4.40 mug beer, which is a lofty position to hold among the many ales and lagers I have consumed in my time. Yet I'm still puzzled about you, Dirty Bastard, since you seem to have abandoned the land of scotch whiskey and haggis for the land of chocolate and of beers made by monks. So I ask you again--
Are you a Belgian in disguise?
When we decided to review Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale, I had a feeling of deja vu. Didn't we review this once already? My fellow Knights insisted that no, we haven't, that I'm thinking of the Kentucky Breakfast Stout.
After some research, I understand why I thought that I had reviewed this beer before: because I had!
Back when the Knights were still in their infancy, at review number 4, Kelly, Chris, and I went to Spencer's Stadium Tavern where we reviewed Spaten's Oktoberfest. But I was the only one at that review to submit a review, so I also rated Dirty Bastard, which was my warm up.
Since it was my warm up, it was never "officially" reviewed. But my thoughts then reflect many of my thoughts now: "great malty beer with a bite of hops... very dark to reddish brown in color with a nice foam head that gives way to some great lace... caramel and toffee... bit of spice in the aroma... easy to drink... not much of an aftertaste."
I will add that the nose smelled of raisin, the hops bite came in the back of the throat, and the mouthfeel was very creamy.
I'll sum it up in two words: Apple butter. This beer makes me think of apple butter in beer form. Back then, I was wanting to rate it between 4 and 4.5 mugs. I think it holds true.
And when we review it again for the first time 18 months from now, I'll still probably give it a 4.375 mug rating. Maybe instead we'll review the Founder's Red's Rye, which I had after and was very tasty.
But I won't review it now, in order to prevent future confusion.
This wasn't the first time Hoosier Beer Geek has visited Locals Only - back in January of 2007 a couple Knights stopped in and had kind words for the establishment. What they failed to mention is that Locals Only is a dive bar.
Consider the following:
Non-descript exterior? Check.
Dingy couch? Check.
Stage and partial dance floor? Check.
Pool table? Check.
Extensive use of Christmas Lighting? Check.
Vinyl BudMillerCoors advertising on the walls? Check.
Fantastic beer menu? Way friendly staff? Check... Wait a minute... Fantastic beer menu? Way friendly staff?
Calling Locals Only a dive bar isn't meant as a slight - because as far as dive bars go you won't find better, or friendlier. Instead of the expected Bud/Bud Light/Miller/Miller Light beer menu you'd expect, Locals Only has a cooler-full of the finest in craft beer, with enough variety to keep any beer geek happy. Not to mention the fact that when you make that craft beer choice, the bartender will congratulate you on your fine selection.
After warming up with a Stone Ruination IPA, I settled into our feature beer - Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. It's a fitting beer for Locals Only - a beer that has the look you'd expect, but reveals itself to be something completely different. The beer pours with a deep red color and no lacing. A hard-to-pin-down nose leads to a full, smooth mouthfeel, full of... something... caramel? butter? It's the sort of beer that has you scratching your head to describe.
Looking at our past scores, the "would I buy this again" breaking point for scores seems to lie at 3.00 mugs - beers at that score or higher are beers I would buy again. Keeping that in mind, I'll give Dirty Bastard a score of 3.5 mugs - this is a beer I'm anxious to revisit.
This is indeed a dirty bastard. Its slick yet persistent texture brought to my mind the horrid image of the illegitimate spawn of an oyster and a lump of chocolate chip cookie dough. I can think of few combinations of things that I enjoy on their own, but would be this unappealing when combined in the real word, but in this rarified context I can certainly enjoy the juxtaposition. The pleasantly divergent characteristics don't stop there, however. Its color was a dark auburn, and had the malty character that one would expect from a Scottish style ale, but there was a smoky coffee-ish flavor to this bastard which leads me to believe that his old man must have been a one stout fellow indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed this particular Scottish ale, despite his questionable parentage.
I'm typically an agreeable soul when it comes to beer. Ales, stouts, dark, light, cold, warm -- there's a reason that I've been the Knight with the highest average mug rating given to our Roundtable selections. Alas, it's not to be this time around.
With my first sip of the Dirty Bastard, I ended up asking the other Knights if they tasted something akin to fertilizer -- an astringent, oily taste spreading out on the top of my tongue that I couldn't get past. I sampled some of the other Knights' pours, and while they seemed much more balanced, the phantom taste still hung in there for me. I wouldn't be opposed to trying another bottle at home in the future, but I just didn't get the enjoyment out of this beer like the rest of the group.
Note to the Dirty Bastard: if you were picking on me because I had a bad day... I'll get my vengeance.
2.25 mugs, open to re-evaluation.
Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale
Kelly: 2.25 mugs
Matt: 4.25 mugs
Jim: 4.40 mugs
Gina: 3.75 mugs
Mike: 3.50 mugs
Jason: 4.375 mugs
KOTBR Average: 3.75 mugs