Among the new items I spotted this week in the beer isles was Heavy Horse Scotch Ale in 6 packs from Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula. Turns out, Heavy Horse is the new name for the previous Stone Thrower Scotch Ale. If memory serves, Stone Thrower was never bottled, so Heavy Horse marks Big Sky's first foray into a bottled scotch ale. I don't know the scoop behind the name change, but I'm guessing it was changed to fit Big Sky's scheme of animal named beers. They already have a couple of dogs (Powder Hound and Bobo's Porter) a mountain goat (Scape Goat Pale) and a moose (Moose Drool Brown Ale). Even the IPA and Summery Honey have animals on the packaging (antelope and bear, respectively). So the horse fits, though Stone Thrower was a really cool name. September usually means a release of Big Sky's Slow Elk Stout (cow, not elk), but it looks like Heavy Horse is taking its place for the time being.
I first had Stone Thrower Heavy Horse back around 1999 at some Scottish games held at the Missoula County Farigrounds. It was quite good then and is quite good now. It pours a clear, dark red/copper with a nice, fairly thick biscuit colored head. The aroma is caramel malt which matches the taste. There's lots of caramel flavor creating a sweet, slightly candy-like, flavor. Hops are nowhere noticeable which is typical for the style. Scotch Ales, or "wee heavy," are beefed up versions of their little brother, the Scottish Ale. They are sweeter, richer and higher alcohol. Heavy Horse checks in at 6.7% abv and is indeed sweet, rich, medium to full bodied and very smooth. You'll find it in limited release 6-packs and on tap at the brewery. Enjoy it while it lasts. Bobo's Porter can't be too far behind.