August 2017: Beer/Whiskey Crossovers


Host:  Perry Young

This month, Flight Club takes a small step outside its traditional distilled spirits lineup, with one foot inside the world of craft beer.

Many believe that beer and whiskey begin as one in the same.  In some parts of the world, that is true, at least to some degree.  Scotland and Ireland, for instance, have been distilling some form of beer into whisky for hundreds of years.  Although the base ingredients (barley, water and yeast) are the same, that “beer” used for distillation tends to be of an entirely different quality than any producer would put forward as a marketable beer.   One major difference, at least according to Scotch and Irish Whisk(e)y laws, is that the presence of hops is not approved.

But in other parts or the world., beer and whiskey are two different animals.  In the United States, for instance, craft beer tends to be made primarily from malted barley.  Bourbon, U.S.’s largest whiskey product, is at least 51% corn.  They are different animals in terms of grain bills and, like all other traditional whiskies, different in terms of hops usage.

Today, distillers bring you several opportunities to reunite beer with whiskey.

First, unlike tradition, many distillers today start with true “beer” prior to distillation.  That is, a beer in its truest sense, with barley and other grains, hops and yeast.  In most instances, the beer initially produced is a known quality product, marketable and consumable on its own. The product is then distilled, and the resulting spirit has different qualities than traditional grain only products.  The presence of hops is probably the biggest distinction.  Hops contain flavors and aromas not found in a traditional whisky wash (the distilled liquid).

Second, many distillers are using the by-product of barrel-aged beers to impart beer character into both traditionally distilled whiskeys and beer distilled whiskeys.  That by-product is the barrel itself.  Yes, we know that whiskey barrel aged beers has been a thing for no less than a decade, but the subsequent reuse of that barrel after beer for additional whiskey production is fairly new.

This month, we feature whiskeys made from beer mash, and whiskey’s aged in beer barrels.

  • Cocktail:  Jameson Whiskey Sour
    • Ingredients: 2 oz of Jameson Irish Whiskey, 4 dashes freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 barspoon of granulated sugar, 1 splash of sparkling water
    • Recipe:  Dissolve the sugar with lemon juice and sparking water in a mixing glass.  Add whiskey and fill with ice and stir well.  Strain into a lowball glass and garnish with a cherry.   This method let’s the whiskey do the talking.

  • Bottle  1:  Beer Barrel Bourbon
    • Distillery: New Holland
    • Proof: 80
    • Mash Bill (if available): N/A
    • Price: $33
    • Purchase location: Burgharts (Also available at Jacobs)
    • Tasting Notes:
      • Nose – Maple syrup and vanilla, nutty oak
      • Palate – Smooth, herbal spearmint flavors, lack of boozy burn
      • Finish – Subtle vanilla, tingle on the roof of my mouth, zero bite
    • Why this bottle is featured:  This product is from a very well known craft beer brewer and receives very solid reviews throughout the web. it is also the most readily available beer cask aged whiskey in this region. And it is priced to drink.

  • Bottle 2: Glenfiddich Experimental Series #01
    • Distillery: Glenfiddich
    • Proof: 86
    • Mash Bill (if available): N/A
    • Price: $72.99
    • Purchase location: Burgharts (Available all over while it lasts)
    • Tasting Notes:
      • Nose – Candy necklaces, barley sugar, lemon zest, brioche, milky cornflakes (with a sprinkling of white sugar), dried apple rings, soft cinnamon and a dusting of nutmeg
      • Palate – Oily texture with rich vanilla toffee and lemon cream to start. A green leafiness sits at the centre, surrounded by oaky spice, Shreddies, cocoa and floral hints – almost like rose-water-infused chocolate…
      • Finish – Freshly crushed malt, Ovaltine, Cocoa Puffs and hints of damp green leaves.
    • Why this bottle is featured:  It is featured because I really like Scotch and was very curious to see if an IPA barrel can really have much influence on such a traditional taste as Glenfiddich. Malt Master Brian Kinsman collaborated with a local Speyside craft brewer, Brian created a bold and zesty India Pale Ale beer to imbue Glenfiddich rich oak casks with extra hoppy notes.

  • Bottle 3: Charbay R5 Hop flavored Whiskey
    • Distillery: Charbay
    • Proof:
    • Mash Bill (if available): N/A
    • Price: $62.99
    • Purchase location:  Wharehouse Wine and Spirits (Tulsa)
    • Tasting Notes:
      • Nose – Very crisp and bright, smelling of Granny Smith apples and a hint of citrus.
      • Palate – summery and light with undertones of kiwi, lemon zest and hard cider. There is a clean spicy herbal undertone that is reminiscent of Ricola. The hop flavour comes out distinctly and tastes like a stereotypical summer beer such as Blue Moon or Hoegaarden
      • Finish – light spice on the lips, with the hop flavor becoming more and more apparent and tail end becoming drier and drier.
    • Why this bottle is featured:  Now in its fifth release, Charbay’s R5  is double-distilled from Bear Republic Brewery’s award-winning Racer 5 IPA® beer (7% abv). It is highly rated and one of the few craft beer whiskeys distributed to our area. If you consider Tulsa as part of our area. There are some others but they aren’t producing a bunch considering how much liquid is lost during the distillation process. (10,000 gallons of beer down to just 590 gallons of whiskey).

  • Bottle 4: Charbay S Hop Flavored Whiskey
    • Distillery: Charbay
    • Proof:
    • Mash Bill (if available): N/A
    • Price: $109
    • Purchase location: Wharehouse Wine and Spirits (Tulsa)
    • Tasting Notes:
      • Nose: brown sugar, cinnamon, incense, and grain
      • Palate: musky, dusky spice, a big grain profile, and subtle notes of coffee and dark chocolate
      • Finish: compelling, fading into an echo of an Irish coffee
    • Why this bottle is featured:  It’s extremely complex. Single malts only use a single malt—this Stout has over five different malts, as well as adjuncts and several different hop varieties. All of these qualities come through into an extremely complex whiskey. Originated from Bear Republic’s Big Bear Stout.

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