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DonRocks

Highland Brewing Company "Gaelic Ale" - a 5.6% ABV American Amber Ale from Asheville, NC

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Compared to Humboldt Brewing Company's Red Nectar, which I reviewed recently, Highland Brewing Company's Gaelic Ale is far superior.



This is a somewhat balanced, easy-going beer that still has some bite and character to it - I suppose you could classify it as a "red ale," but it's really more amber.



I can't say Gaelic Ale is "great," but I do think it's quite good, with a moderate, persistent head, a refreshing, almost rye-like taste to go along with it's medium-high carbonation, and a vote from me as a fine daily drinking selection. There's a hint of sweetness on the finish that I find quite appealing.



The bottling date (not expiration date) is clearly labeled, and mine is 07/15/15 - along with sensors that change color when the temperature gets above a certain threshold, these are two very valuable tools (this doesn't have the sensors, but that technology is coming down the pike).



If you see an ancient Scot with bagpipe in left hand, and mug of beer in right, that would quite likely be this. I recommend it, and am curious to know what others think. Purchased, I believe, at a CVS, which, quite frankly, usually means it's "microbrew" in name only. Lagunitas, Bell's ... those are two examples of macro-micro-brews that will be living off their names for quite some time, and are no longer to be trusted.


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This beer will always hold a sentimental place in my heart as it's probably one of the first two non-Bud, Miller, Busch, etc. beers I've ever had. That and Duck Rabbit's Milk Stout. I went to school in NC in the mid-2000s and the beer scene there had yet to truly explode, and this was one of the few local beers I can recall seeing in stores.

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Everything about the beer scene in Asheville (which is truly stunning [and has an "e" in it, which I didn't realize!]) can be traced directly back to Highland as they were the standard bearer for beer in Western NC and got other's thinking "hey, maybe we could do this craft beer thing in Asheville". Oscar (the dad) and Leah (the daughter) Wong are nice people, which certainly helps. That being said, they were never really created to be the trendy, try-something-new-every week kind of brewery that craft beer has mostly become. Everything they put out though is solid, and Gaelic Ale is no exception.

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