"Yes, we meant to spell it that way," says the label of Damb Good Wee Heavy from Sarasota's JDub's Brewing Company.
For reference, "wee heavy" is another name for Scotch ale: a strong, malty brew from Scotland. The wort — the prebeer, if you will — is boiled to the point of a mild caramelization in the kettle, which gives the finished brew a pronounced, rich malt flavor. It's stronger than a Scottish ale (yes, I know that's confusing), and it's generally served in smaller (i.e., "wee") portions than its milder counterparts.
JDub's opened nearly two years ago, with head brewer Tom Harris overseeing production of a range of well-received beers, from the flagship Up-Top IPA to ambitious projects like the recently released San Cristobal (a rum barrel-aged imperial stout) and American Wild (a barleywine aged in George Dickel whiskey barrels, with wild yeast and cherries added).
Harris recently announced that he's leaving JDub's, and the brewery released Damb Good as a parting gift of sorts. The 10 percent alcohol by volume Scotch ale is Harris' favorite recipe, and even after the current batch of 750-milliliter bottles is gone, JDub's owner Jeremy Joerger plans to keep it in regular rotation on tap in the brewery's tasting room.
Damb Good is a substantial ale, which makes it perfect for cooler weather. Hop heads beware — this is a massive malt bomb. Caramel, raisins and nuts are up front, coated in a light roastiness that prevents it from becoming cloying. It's rich. Very rich. As the JDub's crew will tell you, it's damb good.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent