Empyrean Burning Skye Ale
Empyrean’s Burning Skye claims to mimic Scottish copper ales. But it pours far too pale for such a comparison. And the ales I’ve tried from the UK’s northern reaches tend to be more robust.
Of course, that’s the beauty of any American brewing company’s play with language. The caveat “style” excuses any such alleged flaw. The eastern Nebraska artisans are merely sampling (to use music industry parlance) as best they can with the ingredients available.
And what Empyrean created is an easy, highly drinkable beer. It gives off aromas of caramel, toast and orange zest, suggesting a hale and hearty seasonal.
The toasted character appears again on the palate, as does the soft caramel sweetness. There is peat and malt and a mellow nutty taste, more reminiscent of Scotch whisky than Scottish ale. But there’s also an acrid note—bitter, yet tasting more of charcoal and dusty spice. These notes fade quickly, however, allowing a swirling bite to chatter around the back of your throat.
Then it all wraps up.
You like it (or at least I did), yet you also recognize the disconnect between proper Scottish ale and presumed Scottish style.
Pair it with pork chops, nutty cheeses, chicken or just enjoy it anytime you want to drink without pondering semantics.