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Like a lot of beer styles, Scottish ales truly tell the story of the land on which they're brewed. Whether it be by way of the flavour profiles, ingredients used, or even through its historic-yet-confusing naming system of 60, 70, 80 shilling (which now denote strength but originated as how much it cost per barrel of the stuff) each pint of a Scottish ale is basically Scotland in a glass.
Stories of the Scots being too proud to give anybody in England their money--even to those who grow the hops that can't be otherwise grown in Scotland--to malt being dried over peat-fueled smoke are behind why we now have Scottish ales that are lightly-hopped, sparkling ruby-coloured, and malty-with-just-a-touch-of-peat ales.