Ireland being a whiskey nation, naturally the two staples in Irish beer styles, stout and red ale make an amazing convoy with a glass of Irish whiskey. There is a history of putting these two together, the Americans have done it for years in the form of the “Boiler maker” - when I saw this first in the Thor film, I marvelled at the whiskey being dunked into the beer tankard (pun very intended). Now it’s started to appear in a few pubs here and I noticed that Tullamore Dew have created a series of short videos in an ad campaign that pairs whiskey’s with beers, even ipa.
I’d have a shot of whiskey in beer over a jager-bomb any day, but at a time when both beer and whiskey are going through a renaissance in our country, what's happening is even better! Instead of being brutally mixed together, they are accompanying each other as though it was destined. Of course this is a powerful pair, they share the same core ingredients, water and barley. I have heard some folks refer to this connection as having “the same DNA”.
Back in October 2016 I received a generous invitation by Shane of Dotbrew to a tasting night at Teeling that would pair and compare beers, whiskeys and cheeses. This was a mega treat and it seemed like the cheeses were given great thought to go with the delicious drinks. Then you’ve got not only beers being aged in whiskey barrels - which is nothing new but still great - now there is whiskey being aged in ex-beer barrels. I’m speaking of course, about Jameson caskmates, a whiskey that has been finished in barrels in which beer has aged, this is a collab with Franciscan Well brewery. Whiskey in ex-beer barrels is already a thing in the US, a huge whiskey market, so I imagine other Irish distilleries will try their own cask share with a brewery too. I have heard a few rumours...
Beer with whiskey seems meant to be and it can be a beautiful combination when you get it right or a total misfire if you get it wrong. I personally wouldn’t have a pint of ipa with a glass of Green Spot as the bitterness of the ipa might just tear the lovely, rich and oily flavours of this single pot still whiskey from my happy palate. However ipa beers actually go great with certain bourbon whiskey’s. But the likes of Green Spot, John’s Lane, Red Breast and other heavy Irish whiskey’s go best with a dry stout or a strong porter. Irish blended whiskey’s are fantastic with a red ale such as Porterhouse red. But these are just some of my thoughts and a basic guideline for anybody who wants to try marry a beer with a whiskey. Explore for yourself, see what works for you and give me a comment on your favourite pairing. Subscribe for my news letter which will be full of this kind of talk. Sláinte