Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale

This beer was a little frivolity I brought back from GBBF last year. I did plan on bringing back more of Renaissance’s wares, but I went through a seriously Japanese phase that weekend, and ended up shunning New Zealand – which was a shame, as the likes of 8 Wired, Epic and Renaissance were on my hit list. It’s been patiently waiting to be blogged since then.

Anyway – Scotch Ale. A style that seems (to me, at least) the US have really taken under their wing, and this influence obviously filters through to other territories outside Europe. I picked this up because I wanted to try a Kiwi take on it, seeing as though English brewers seem to leave it alone.

Am I right in saying this? What do you think? Is it because styles like Best Bitter and Amber Ale (although I think that’s a US imported phrase) are close to Scotch Ale?

Stonecutter (7%) certainly looks the part in the glass; mahogany in hue, with a ever-so-slightly tan head hinting at the sweetness within. There’s red fruit in the sip, backed up with a decent amount of cakey, bready, toasted malt notes in the body with only the slightest whiff of smoke. It is undeniably sweet, rich and this inherent booziness becomes more apparent as you finish the beer. The hop profile provides enough bitterness towards the end of the sip to briefly save you from all that body, before disappearing again to leave long finish.

Part of me wants it finish a little fresher; but then I correct myself and note that Stonecutter is a showcase in malt, as all Scotch Ales should be.

I finished the beer alright; don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard to drink. But it is rich, sweet and, well, a little heavy. During a cold snap, it’ll certainly warm your cockles. Share this out and sort out a couple of Steaks (some Duck would be good, too) ; you’ll be patting your satiated stomach afterwards for sure.  I’ll be trying more of Renaissance’s beers, for sure.


About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 08/08/2012, in Beer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love a good Scotch Ale although I tend to look towards Belgium for leaders in the style generally (I could be wrong but woukd think that us where the US have taken their influence) but I think you are right in saying that English brewers seem to give it a wide birth.

    I’ve not tried any Renaisance beers before but am looking out for NZ breweries to target. I have a mate going out to visit family soon so am hoping to give him a couple of must try classics to bring back, so would welcome ideas?

    Although I realise may be telling you how to suck eggs here, other Scotch Ales to try from Belgium if you’ve not sampled – Gordon’s, McChouffe and Canaster Winter Scotch.
    Plus on a Scots note Black Isle & Brewdog Dogma are both lovely.


    • Yep, agree on the Black Isle front, i was going more for the ‘scotch ale’ style – you know, malty, bready, sweet…it’s not something you see every brewery do!

  2. English don’t really do Scotch ales because their Scottish. There’s a certain level of nationalism with both countries. this is also why the Scottish don’t make hoppy beers. They don’t want to have to buy a lot of English Hops. Scotch ales, as a style are also significantly higher in alcohol than the vast majority of English beers.

    Nice review. I’m just starting to see the Renaissance beers in my corner of the United States. I’ll have to try some.

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