Beer: Glasgow Smile
Brewery: Nightmare Brewing Company (Farmingdale, NY)
Style: Sour – Gose – Fruited
6.7% ABV / 30 IBU
Nightmare Brewing Company is horror and death metal enthusiast Billy Powell’s outlet for flirting with darkness and exorcising his own demons. Powell’s day job is overseeing the brewing at Sand City, which offers an IPA-heavy line-up, but Nightmare—a gypsy, or in more politically correct terms, phantom brewery—is entirely his own operation. In a recent interview with Edible Long Island, Powell described his focus with Nightmare as “unique ingredients, high alcohol content, traditional beers, and bringing back some ‘dead styles.’”
Powell is true to his word on all counts with Nightmare’s totally fucking amazing Glasgow Smile. Well, most counts: the fruity and salty Leipzig gose style was a dead style that was already reanimated, and has been trending upward for the last couple years as brewers look for alternatives to one-note sours. In addition to lemon zest, black salt (an essential component of goses), raspberries and blueberries, Glasgow Smile features two ingredients grown in the Caledonian Forest of the Scots Pines: bilberries (aka huckleberries) and Scottish heather (a bittering agent used in other Scottish beers). Also worth noting that Glasgow Smile is substantially more boozy than traditional gose beers, which typically hover around the 4% ABV range.
The combination of raspberries and bilberries/blueberries in Glasgow Smile produces a pleasantly fruity—but not cloyingly sweet—flavor that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Much like the beer’s namesake, the 1930’s Scottish gang technique of slicing victims’ faces from the corner of their mouths to their ears. This is, of course, represented on the Glasgow Smile cans with a gruesome and bloody level of detail you’d see on a Cannibal Corpse album cover. The art on the can is so extreme that Scottish news media picked up on it despite Nightmare’s limited distribution footprint. The can art and the beer itself really need to be experienced to be believed.