It’s strange that the Scottish (not "Scotch") style hasn’t really caught
fire in the American craft beer scene. If done right, these beer have
it all: plenty of malty sweetness balanced with hop bitterness and a
hint of smoke. They’re versatile as they work great as stand-alone
beverages or accompaniment with a meal. Well, at least that’s how I’d
describe Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer.
Appearance: Dark, murky, cranberry/maroon colored body. Forms a large,
off-white, frothy head which laces and retains really well.
Smell: Sweet, dark malts with a hint of dark fruit and a faint trace of smoke.
Taste: I’ll admit I was rather hesitant going into Hangar 24 Hullabaloo
Winter Beer, as I’m not usually a fan of Scottish Ales. But one sip into
it I knew this beer wasn’t like most I’ve experienced. There’s a much
bigger taste profile here that’s both robust, complex and perfectly
balanced. It has that classic taste of bready, slightly fruity maltiness
in the English style. There’s pronounced bitterness through the middle -
a nice combination of astringency and piney, resiny hop character. The
ending is the best part as there’s a strong burst of caramel sweetness
followed by semi-sweet chocolate and slight bitterness just before it
fades away. There’s a smoky taste riding shotgun the entire time, but
it’s nice and subtle and doesn’t distract from the main palate.
This is a really tasty palate, and a versatile one as I could see this
beer working well in a variety of situational pairings: with a meal,
with cheese, with dessert or as dessert. Take your pick.
Drinkability: Thankfully, Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer drinks like a
bigger beer than it actually is. You don’t tend to get this much flavor
out of 6.5% ABV. It’s big enough that one serving satisfies, but light
enough that it doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s smooth and soft all around
with an almost creamy-like texture but distinct carbonation to give it
some energy. The aftertaste is a little dry, but it’s easily tolerable.