Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pike Kilt Lifter

At the end of our Alaskan cruise, my wife and I were dropped off in Seattle. Now, while I am very biased towards Portland's beer history, Seattle is a great beer town, full of well-known and obscure brews alike. One of them is the Pike Brewing Co., situated a couple blocks from the historic Pike Place Market. Being one of the more widely distributed of Seattle's breweries (they distribute to WA, OR, ID, MT, UT, and AK in the United States and BC in Canada, but not Nevada!), I had to check it out. Unfortunately, I only had enough time to dash in, pick out a bottle I thought looked cool, and dash out. That bottle: Kilt Lifter, a Scotch-style ale that was first brewed in 1990.

Pike itself was opened in 1989 by Charles and Rose Ann Finkel under Seattle's Pike Place Market, in what they call "one of the smallest breweries with the tallest smokestack". There, they brewed their Pike Pale, an Amber ale, and XXXXX Stout, but it wasn't long before they expanded to the Kilt Lifter, as well as numerous other styles, such as a barleywine, IPA, and even Belgian-style doubles and tripels. Pike got a big boost when it was spoken of favorably by the late great Beer Hunter Michael Jackson in 1991, and they've never looked back. They've won numerous awards at many festivals and judgings, and All About Beer magazine ranked their IPA as one of the 5 best in the country and one of the 10 best in the world. Now, as far as Kilt Lifter's awards go, I may have missed some (mostly because I was tired when prepping this entry), but in 2006-2008, Northwest Brewing News rated it the Best Northwest Scotch Ale. (Pike Brewing Website → History)

Here come the stats:

Pike Kilt Lifter
BREWERY: Pike Brewing Co., Seattle, WA, USA
STYLE: Scotch ale
CALORIES/SERVING: ~190 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 6.5%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 15.58° Plato (1064)
MALTS: Peated, pale, crystal, Munich
HOPS: Magnum, East Kent Goldings
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Pike pulled pork sandwich, salmon sandwich, Kilt Lifter mac n' cheese (all of which are on Pike's brewpub menu)
AWARDS: 2006-2008 Best Northwest Scotch Style Ale as voted by readers of Northwest Brewing News
INTERESTING FACTS: It's their most popular beer, equally popular amongst men and women alike, and it's "extremely popular around St. Patrick's Day", which is odd considering that it's a Scottish styled beer on an Irish holiday

Much of the info comes from Pike's Flash-based website; first brewed and awards come from History, and bitterness, ABV, OG, malts, and hops come from the Kilt Lifter "page". The rest of the information comes from Pike's own Head Brewer, Drew Cluley. Thanks again for the info!

The beer poured very smoothly, revealing a medium amber color and a white foamy head. The nose was very malty and sweet, with just a touch of hoppiness to it. The beer itself tasted malty and carbonated in equal amounts, perfectly balanced. As the beer warmed up, a little smokiness emerged as the maltiness and carbonation waned. The finish started off a little stale, but actually ended up quite nicely. Overall, a pretty good beer.

I am more of a wheat beer and stout fan, and not usually one for strong ales, but I really enjoyed this beer. Check this one out the next time you're in Seattle or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.


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