Name: 90 Shilling
Brewery: Odell Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Fort Collins, Colorado
Style: Scottish Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.6%
First Brewed: 1989
Bright, rich copper colors in the glass, topped with a rocky tan head. Caramel aromas then into rich toasted caramel flavors, with hints of chocolate and light fruitiness also joining in on the palate. Relatively dry at the finish, nuttiness lingering in the memory.
We couldn’t get Odell beers in Indiana, so when we moved to Arizona I fell in love. Their beers are really good, and I haven’t been disappointed with anything I have had from them. For example, their IPA is delicious. Their double IPA, while not that hoppy, is a nice smooth flavor. They even do a double black IPA that is amazing! They recently dropped the price to $3.99 at Total Wine & More, and I grabbed a case!
Today we are doing the 90 Shilling. I have not had this beer, and have no idea what to expect. It’s an ale… go figure! There is a wine associate at Total Wine that I chat with from time to time. He doesn’t “get” beer and always jokes, “Any new ales or lagers in today?” He’s funny!
This is a new journey for me and Odell, and I can’t wait to drink this!
In the Glass: The beer is a light brown and has a nice thin white head. The lace is pretty good and hangs on to the side of the glass. It drops slowly, and just begs to be drank. Knowing what I do about Odell beers, I assume this is going to be great!
Nose: It smells like an ale. Not much going on in the nose, and I am getting subtle spices toward the end. Not much here, and I am not sure what that says about the flavor. Let’s drink.
Flavor: There is a LOT more flavor here than I expected. At first there isn’t much going on, and then as the beer slides across the back of the palate, the bubbles explode on the back of the tongue. The flavors I am getting are earthy and remind me of a Washington state chardonnay. If you close your eyes, you can picture licking dirty rocks and chewing on pine cones. It’s not a bad flavor, but it has a good earthy flavor that keeps me drinking.
Oh, and I will mention, that while writing this, I started chatting with JoShua McGuire (@Shua_MC on Twitter) about Odell and this beer. He seems to like the 90 Shilling and was drinking a Lugene when we were talking. Speaking of Lugene, if you like milk stouts, try it. But if you want to try a beer cocktail with that as the base, take 1 ounce of whipped cream or marshmallow puff vodka, mix the two together, and enjoy. You won’t be sorry!)
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel starts thin and balanced, and then about halfway back it explodes with bubbles and those earthy flavors that I was talking about. It has a really nice complexity as you swallow, and the aftertaste (which is my favorite part of this beer) kicks in. Every time I swallow those flavors come rushing back to the surface. This is getting better as it heats up, too.
Aftertaste: I keep going back to those earthy flavors, but that is what I am tasting here. I wouldn’t call this a dirty flavor, but it has a nice complexity that would pair nicely with food. I bet this would pair nicely with grilled meats or fried chicken. Maybe we can take a trip to Lo Lo’s Chicken & Waffles and see. Highly doubt they have the 90 Shilling available, though!
Odell didn’t let me down, but they also didn’t blow me away with this offering. It’s good, but not great. I would order this again, and will actually be looking for this on draft. I bet this is really good on draft. I bet this would even make a good cask beer. I can see this being served at room temperature. If you are a fan of Odell Brewing Company, then this should be a staple in your daily drinking.
90 Shilling – The bottle says: “90 Shilling is our flagship beer. Smooth and complex, 90 Shilling is a medium-bodied amber ale with a distinct burnished copper color and a deeply pleasant aroma. A shilling was a British coin used from 1549 to 1982. The name 90 Shilling comes from the Scottish meted of taxing beer. Only the highest quality beers were taxed 90 Shillings. We think you’ll find this original ale brilliantly refreshing and worth every shilling.”
Beer has really been a hot topic this week in Arizona. We are in the middle of Arizona Beer Week, and there are all kinds of events going on at bars and breweries around the valley. Last night was the only night I have stayed at home! Saturday was the Strong Beer Fest, Sunday Ricky and I were out running errands most of the day, Monday we visited Four Peaks in Scottsdale because they had Sirius Black on tap (the beer, not the Harry Potter character), and Tuesday night was an Arizona Girls Pint Out event at Papago Brewing. Then tonight I am going to a Belgian beer class that Ricky is pouring for at Total Wine. It has been a fun, but very busy week.
I have seen the beer that we are trying today sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, but I don’t know much about it other than it is from Odell, which is a good brewery. They make the Lugene, which I like, as well as several other good beers. Time to find out how one from their main lineup rates.
This one pours out somewhat thick, with a nice dark orange color to it. It’s not super thick, but definitely isn’t completely transparent in the glass. It didn’t have a lot of head when poured out, either. The smell… well, to me it honestly doesn’t smell like much. It has that wet smell that is familiar for beer, and maybe a small hint of a fruity smell to it. But I don’t smell any spice or hops, so not much preview for what’s to come. Time to try the first sip.
Before I try it – I am looking at the website for this beer online. Apparently it is their flagship beer, and is supposed to be a lighter take on a Scottish ale. I like Scottish ale, and one of the better ones I’ve had is Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, which is really popular here in the valley. Now I’m going to have a hard time not comparing this beer to that one, so it has a lot to live up to. Let’s see how it does. First sip… well, it’s pretty smooth. Definitely a lighter version of a Scottish ale, as it’s nowhere near as rich and flavorful as Kilt Lifter. It tastes slightly hoppy, though – it’s got a few more IBUs . Hmm. This beer is ok, but far from the best Scottish ale I’ve had. It tastes a little spicy, but not a ton of flavor, which is what I tend to look for in beers of this style. It’s okay if you’re going for a bit of a lighter taste, I guess, but if you want a better Scottish ale, I’d definitely recommend Four Peaks Kilt Lifter or Pike Kilt Lifter (so many kilt lifters!) over this one.