Beer Types – Scotch Ale

Scotch Ale was first used as a designation for strong ales exported from Edinburgh in the 18th century. The term has become popular in the USA, where strong ales which may be available in Scotland under a different name are sold in America as “Scotch Ale”. As with other examples of strong ales, such as Barley wine, these beers tend toward sweetness and a full body. Examples from the Caledonian brewery would have toffee notes from the caramelizing of the malt from the direct fired copper. This caramelizing of Caledonian’s beers is popular in America and has led many American brewers to produce strong toffee sweet beers which they label as a Scotch Ale.

Scotch Ale or Whiskey Ale is a designation used by brewers in France and Belgium for peat-smoked malt flavoured beers. Even though the malt used by distillers in Scotland is no longer dried by peat burning, some peat smoke flavour is added during malting by an additional process.Although recent research from brewing historian Ron Pattinson shows a lack of evidence for peat smoked malt being used by any Scottish breweries, American craft brewers often add peat smoked malt in their versions of Scotch ale. These malts are occasionally used in beers where the peat smoke flavour is reminiscent of whisky.

also known as “Wee Heavy.” In the 19th century Scotland, they’d also be known as 160/-, a nomenclature based on the now obsolete shilling currency. Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew and are best served in a thistle glass.

Examples are the scotch ales from Samuel Adams, McEwan’s, Simple Malt & McAuslan (pictured above). Food pairings that go best with a scotch ale are roast pork, smoked salmon, or lamb and other grilled meat.

It’s Not Your Fate

Fate is the lazy person’s cheat and cop out. It’s the cowards way out. Things not going your way? “It’s my fate!” or the “Fates are against me”. Your life is a result of your experiences, the chances you take and other “earthly” factors that can be positive or negative for you. In some cases an event/incident can be positive to you but negative for someone else. Your life is not decided for you; you can choose to believe that and you will never make a difference to yourself. Or you can say “fuck that shit” and make things for for you and if you can get help in doing it, all the better.

If you are one who believes that you have a set path laid out for you and if it is a good one, by all means stay on it. If you are satisfied that is. If not, stray from the path and see what changes you can make in your life. The stars have nothing to do with your future. They are just balls of gases in the vastness of space, like our own sun. They give off light, energy and have a gravitational effect on planetary and other bodies that revolve around them. Similarly no angels, fairy godmothers or celestial beings can influence your life path. It is you who makes that decision and it is you who must deal with the consequences.

In closing I would say that free will is the greatest & most precious thing we can utilize as individuals. Let’s not easily dismiss it or chuck it as the power of some imaginary deity. And to quote Rush:

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose freewill

The Walking Dead – Season 1

Based on a comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead is a post apocalyptic zombie horror tv series developed for tv by Frank Darabont (he directed the films The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist, all based on stories by Stephen King).  The highly successful series focuses on a group of survivors who band together to get through the Atlanta metropolitan area and into the surrounding woods. They have to survive on whatever food & water they can find and avoid the scourge of predatory zombies who will attack and kill anything living.

Rick Grimes, a deputy sheriff wakes up in a bed in an abandoned hospital weeks after he was shot and went into a coma while apprehending suspects in car. The pilot sees him waking up & finding himself in a world overrun by the zombies, called ‘Walkers’, shuffling around aimlessly until they see a living creature and then attack it en-mass. He makes his way home and finds his house deserted just like the streets and his wife & son missing. Rick makes his way to Atlanta on the rumours of a group of survivors from a black man & his son who take him in for a little while and feed him. A few miles outside the city his wife Lori and young son Carl are hiding with Rick’s best friend and fellow cop Shane and a small group of other survivors.

On reaching Atlanta Rick is surrounded by a horde of zombies and takes shelter in an army tank and helped/guided out by a young man Glenn and they meet up with a handful of humans who are holed up in a department store looking for supplies.  Glenn and Rick attracted the attention of the walkers and the group has to rush away, leaving behind an antagonist racist, Merle, who was handcuffed to a pipe to keep him restrained. Using the sewers they make their way out while the zombies rush in, and escape in a truck while Glenn takes a red sport car. When they reach the survivors camp, Rick is reunited with his wife & son but tension mounts as Shane believeing Rick to be dead had said the same to Lori and the two had begun a secret affair. Lori is furious with Shane but doesn’t want anyone else to know of the affair. When Merle’s younger brother Daryl comes back from a hunt, he lashes out at the group for leaving his brother back. Rick leads some of the men back to go get his bag of guns, a radio and Merle.

At the city the four men run into a Latino group who also were looking for the guns that Rick dropped. Although initially the two groups are antagonistic & suspicious towards each other, they later become friends when they find that the Latinos were supporting & protecting a hidden old age home. Rick gives the leader of the group a few guns & ammo and the group leaves, only to find their truck stolen, most probably by Merle who escaped his cuffs by cutting his hand off. Meanwhile at the camp the rest of the group are having a dinner of fish that sisters Andrea & Amy had caught when their camp is attacked by zombies. Several including Amy are killed, with a sobbing Andrea holding her dying baby sister in her arms throughout the night. Andrea stays with her sister until Amy revives as a zombie, when Andrea shoots her in the head (the only way to kill a walker). One of the survivors, Jim, was also bitten and he develops a fever and is restricted to the back of a trailer truck. Rick decides that their best bet is to make it to the CDC facility in Georgia but one family decides to part ways with the rest of the group, choosing to try and find some of their relatives.

At the CDC building, sole survivor a scientist named Jenner notes that it has been 194 days since the outbreak and he is the only one still working on a cure. His samples are however destroyed when decontaminated. The group minus Jim, who wanted to die alone, makes their way to the CDC facility which is surrounded and plead their way inside. Jenner tells them that once inside there is no way out. He piles them with vine and good food which the grateful survivor gratefully eat. He takes them to quarters where they can take showers and sleep on proper beds. Jenner talks to them telling of how he came  to be the sole CDC staff still working when other slowly left. The next morning he shows them a test subject’s brain on an MRI video on a time laspe and how when the subject becomes infected with the zombie virus, their brain activity is all but gone save a few basic urges. Jenner then reveals that the facility will run out of power in about an hour, at which time automatic decontamination procedures will commence.

When the power runs out decontamination procedures will burn the air and explode the building ensuring that no diseases escape out. The group is trapped but they are finally able to break a front window with a grenade. Jenner an instant and painless death to everyone inside but only Jacqui and Andrea choose to remain. Andrea is forced to come out by Dale, a father figure who refuses to leave without her. The building explodes and the facility is destroyed with Jenner & Jacqui in it. As the episode & short first season, just 6 episodes, ends the group heads out again.

Great cast, acting is awesome, great character development and plots. A must watch for all zombie fans.