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Issue 33 - Desperately seeking Scotland

Whisky Magazine Issue 33
September 2003

 

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Desperately seeking Scotland

Wherever I go, I am reminded of the islands and the glens…but they exist only in my mind, confesses Michael Jackson

Alaska appears to be attached to the wrong country, even in normal circumstances. The last time I was there, it contrived to have slipped even further out of register.

It seemed to have turned into Scotland, albeit 20 times as big and with a tenth of the population.

I was there for a beer festival, and was taking the opportunity to visit the nine or 10 breweries in and around the biggest city, Anchorage.

The Cusack's Oatmeal Stout was silky and nutty; the Braveheart Scottish Ale chocolatey and malty; the Burning Bog Scotch Ale smoky and treacly…and I was still only three breweries down the pike.

In this blend of cosmopolitan and Caledonian, you can forget how misty people's images are of Scotland.

“Where are you from?” I was asked.

“Yorkshire,” I volunteered.

“Is that considered Scotland?” someone asked.

“Considered?!” I hacked back a chuckle. There was, I explained, no question of being “considered” Scotland. A town or county was in one nation or the other.

I would never mock an American for failing to be streetwise about Europe. Americans have plenty of geography on their own plates. They can be forgiven for being vague about the relationship of the three nations on our island.

You know the sort of thing; “Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are, of course, our American Scotches, but they are not as good as the ones you make in England.”

Plenty of English people are equally vague. What is their excuse? To some Londoners, the capital's suburbs ar...

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