November 3, 2011

Exclusive Announcement: Rare Affair - Hot Scotchies

The Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH ) have announced today that they will be bringing hot first runnings of a brew day mash to the Rare Affair on Saturday Nov 5th. so that guests can sample the Hot Scotchy or Brewer's Cocktail. First runnings are the unfermented and unhopped malt building block of beer. As a tribute to today's International Stout Day, David Schollmeyer's GABF contending Bucket Hugger Russian Imperial Stout grain bill will be used.

Designated driver guests will be able to sample the drink without alcohol. All other guest will be invited to add some of the available spirits at Rare Affair to mix their own cocktail from among the following available to both Non-VIP and VIP.

  • Tullamore Dew Scotch- Various
  • Belveniw 12 yr Scotch
  • Equador Highland 10 yr Scotch

The author and Oak Creek's Jim Strelau
I was introduced to the Hot Scotchy a few years ago by Oak Creek's brewmaster, Jim Strelau. when I had the good fortune to brew with him on the brewpub's 7BBL system. Sick as a dog with a permasmile on my face, I watched Jim arrive with glasses of Scotch and fashion a ladle out of a cup and string. He pulled off a few draws out of the Elderflower Pear Bier De Garde that we were brewing and mixed up the perfect elixir.

Mentioned briefly here and much more extensively by Beervana's Jeff Alworth, the history of the cocktail is as murky as un-vorlaufed wort. It may or may not have anything to do with the Sternewirth Privilege- the unwritten and perhaps mythic law that requires one to drink while brewing. Jeff smiths it out better than I can and if this doesn't convince you to read the rest of his column and desire a cup of warm comfort at Rare Affair, nothing will.
What happens is nothing short of mystical. Mash runnings are very sweet and flabby--there's no definition to the flavors. The addition of Scotch somehow reverses all this. Like an electric current, the Scotch animates the grains so that you can taste them in HD. The Scotch is likewise a very clear note, but not sharp or aggressive. It has all the flavor of a straight shot, but it's floating amid Mom's comforting malted. Insanely beguiling.
It's been a brewday staple for me ever since and is now an ASH tradition at our brewouts. I'm not aware of it being sold anywhere ever in Arizona. The likeliest places that would have done this would either be Four Peaks or Santan, holders of spirituous liquor licenses. Nothing in recent valley memory serves.

Take heart, should you miss out on this as you can always join the motley band of homebrewers. Once the weather has truly turned into brisk wet windy nights, look for an ASH events during February's Arizona Beer Week. ASH will be serving Hot Scotchies in a few valley locations in partnership with select establishments including Citizen Public House and Moto.

You hear that Richie, Vince? We're doing this right?

UPDATE: I spoke with Doc from BJ's Brewhouse. We'll be getting 4 gallons of Red Goliath first runnings as well. Blustery evening be damned!


  1. Hey,

    just ran into this post and thought I would mention I created the Hot Scotchy or atleast the one mentioned in Jeff Alworth's Beervana post. It is a passed down tradition for sure but when I started making it I could find no written history of its existence and have since served it at numerous events, talked about it for various articles and taught how to make it to a few seminars. Here is one of my short writings on it:

  2. Samurai, I have seen what you wrote and I'm embarassed to say that I should have mentioned your work. I know that I've mentioned the New School elsewhere in this blog.