Grand Lake Brewing’s Plaid Bastard Scotch Ale is a great choice for those who are ready for spring but don’t want to ditch the maltiness just yet.  At 8.1% ABV, Plaid Bastard is a serious beer worthy of respect when sipping. And you’ll do a lot of sipping.

At first look, the color is a deep, dark burgundy. The cream-colored head bursts the aromas of nuts and cherries, and it dissipates rather quickly with very little lacing, so for the best experience, it’s best to enjoy this beer in a tulip-style glass in order to capture every bit of aroma.

Plaid Bastard has a medium body mouth feel that’s slightly viscous. On the onset, there’s a slight carbonation bite the quickly eases into a smoothness. Just as fast, though, a dry finish comes that leaves you satisfied and reaching for another sip without much thought.

Though clearly heavy on the malt (at 7 IBUs), the malty character is complemented by light notes of dried fruit, smoked peat, and, interestingly, overly-ripe banana. Don’t think of German or Belgian banana esters; it’s every so slight, and it makes the malt sweet enough to not be bready.

Overall, this is a great beer to pair with cheese, breads, or even—if you feel like crossing the Irish sea—corned beef and hash. If you want a beer that will break your palate away from the winter heavy stouts and lead you to the crisper, dryer warm-weather beers, then Plaid Bastard will gladly lead the charge.