Beer of the Month Alesmith Brewing Co.

Wee Heavy, Scotch Style Ale from the AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, CA (Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times / December 28, 2011)

Alesmith makes this brew all year, but strong, malty ales of its sort really come into their own in cold weather. "Wee Heavy" is the traditional name for a Scottish ale style that is something like a Gaelic cousin to bock: rich, malty and viscous with lots of caramel flavors, relatively low in hops.

This one pours medium brown with a tan head. The nose is milk chocolate crossed with carob, plus something grainy or grassy. The palate is molasses-sweet with just a hint of hops, and the finish is long and sweet. Think of it as liquid dessert with a punch (10% alcohol by volume).

It's a beer for winter dishes — beef stew, roast pork, Welsh rarebit — but perhaps mostly for sipping before the fire.

 

Quick Sip

 

Style: Rich, malty and caramel, with a punch

Price: $10 to $11.50 per 22-ounce bottle

Where to find it: Wade's Wines in Westlake Village, (818) 597-9463, http://www.wadeswines.com; Red Carpet Wine , 400 E. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, (800) 339-0609, http://www.redcarpetwine.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; Beverages & More, http://www.bevmo.com; and Total Wine http://www.totalwine.com.

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