Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey!…. I chant out loud whilst waiting for the bartender, slowly sipping on my beer of choice. That’s the dialogue that plays out in my mind when I’m over do for a little zing with my zang.The zing being some dark liquor and the zang being the carbonated beverage we call beer! Sometimes for me there is nothing like having a beer with a whiskey neat on the side. There are just some occasions where a beer alone simply will not do. hash tag fact.
If I’m known to be a beer girl then it would be misleading and inappropriate of me to not share the true love story of the single beer meeting the single whiskey at a crowded dim-lit lounge area and knowing for sure they were meant to be. Because after all a marriage is the coming together of two things that both compliment and enhance the beauty and strengths of the other. One holding steadfast where the other may fall short. Now a strong knowledge of whiskey and beer I believe comes with time and tasting. I have so much to still learn but I also am often excited about all that I’ve learned thus far, not only about the simple every day Jameson that I can rely on being at most establishments with a bar but others that you might only encounter through curiosity, recommendation or chance.
Beer and whiskey are two sides of the same coin, says Dave Smith, a distiller and whiskey blender at St. George Spirits. “I was a beer drinker before graduating to whiskey—and I suspect most folks are the same. We recognize flavors and aromatics in whiskey that are echoes of what we love in beer because they both come from grain but go on to different destinations.” So poetic is this description I could not have said it better myself.
Now I have researched many a master brewers mention and recommendation for pairings, read countless blogs and forums on what goes best with what but, honestly I think that the ones I have actually tried have given me a good amount of insight so far as to what pairings I might enjoy now and in the future. So I will highlight some pairings I have already enjoyed and those I plan to try on the advice of older, wiser and more drunk individuals who make their choices for all types of reasons. Some people enjoy a beer paired with a whiskey or bourbon that have similar flavors to compliment each other while others enjoy very contrasting pairings that bring their own unique tastes in the end.
If you want to start pairing but don’t know quite where to begin, maybe your knowledge of whiskey and bourbon is minimal (like mine) or you find yourself intimidated by the endless options of beers to tap into, you can begin here with these general pairings and graduate slowly from there.
1-A Stout beer is perfectly paired with an Irish whiskey:
Guiness + Powers irish whiskey= This is how they drink it in Dublin and for that reason alone it works for me.
Guinness + Red Breast irish whiskey
Innis & Gunn’s Irish cask stout + Jameson black barrel whiskey = A great combo of a 60 day aged beer in whiskey barrels giving a deep rich finish and a 12-year-old whiskey with notes of orange peel, chocolate and hazelnut. An honestly amazing pair and I am not a stout drinker. I’m not sure how regularly available these are at most bars but worth an ask to taste.
Brooklyn dry Irish stout + Jameson = I’ve read that the blend of grains make this beer have an espresso like feel with chocolate and coffee flavors afterwards. Yummy yummy with even just a shot of Jameson if you prefer not to sip on your whiskey.
2- IPA ‘s and Pale Ales are enhanced by any type of Rye or Single Malt in my mind:
Bear Republic’s Racer 5 + Deaths Door = This beer is grapefruit-y with a 6% abv and the whiskey is 100% organic wheat and barley so fun all around for the taste buds I think.
Brooklyn Lager + Old Overholt Rye whiskey = I’ve never personally paired these two but I have heard many a good review on how delicious a pairing it is. Plus Brooklyn is one of the really great breweries.
Irish Red Pale Ale + Bushmills single malt
Smithwicks Irish ale + Wild Turkey rye = Not my favorite whatsoever but I’ve come across too many people who seem to genuinely enjoy this pairing not to at least share it with others. Because although Wild Turkey has never called out to me it might be an undiscovered favorite for you.
There are of course so many others that are amazing together but the above briefly illustrates a small place to begin when expanding you afternoon buzz and love of whiskey and beer. I love IPA’s more than any other style of beer there is and I will try a new one any time I get a chance. I often don’t pair my IPA’s with whiskey at all actually but for all the other beers that make me smile with their crisp beginning or stouts that fill me up when I’m feeling kind of lite there is always a good whiskey I can count on to go with it. It’s up to you to get unnecessarily drunk on your quest to find a great pair and marry them together.
This is one of my favorite whiskeys, I don’t often find it in bars but when I do I’m that much happier for it.
So drink up and be merry, safely of course. 🙂