One appy, one whiskey, one beer
Thoughtful pairing of fine whiskey and craft beer elevates both libations to higher levels of appreciation. Alternating sips of beer polishes the sharp corners of pungent whiskey. While whiskey’s earthy undertones of caramel and oak soften the bright citrus hops in beer.
Whiskey spirit is made from beer, and you may be surprised how well beer & whiskey pair-up. Craft beer paves a smooth road to whisky appreciation. Absolutely nothing honors a fine whiskey better than a complimentary craft beer. Next time you share whiskey tasting with friends or guests, accompany the spirits with a taste of beer.
Whiskey and beer pairs work better when they share similar flavors that complement, or very different flavours that contrast. Try pairing the similar flavours of an oaky Rye Whisky with a dry Rye Porter. Or contrast dis-similar flavors in a dark, sweet wheated Bourbon with a light, bitter India Pale Lager. The range of combinations is vast.
Careful pairing highlights flavours
An advantage of pairing beer with whisky is that the beer acts as a pallet cleanser, making the overall experience more pleasurable. Whiskey is an acquired taste, and an amiable beer gently finesses the drinker into the stronger flavours of whiskey. The sibling beverages also reveal flavors in the parent grain, making them easier to distinguish.
To further highlight the base grains of a particular whiskey, offer breads made from the base grain (rye, wheat, corn, etc.) to transform a simple tasting into a yummy and seductive learning experience.
There are few things more fun than a whiskey tasting with friends. Adding complimentary beer and food ramps up the experience to a whole new level. It’s also a great way to introduce whiskey to newbies, learn about new varieties of whiskey, or solidify your knowledge about the defining characteristics of whiskey styles.
Those new to whisky will benefit from tasting contrasting styles side-by-side. Serving bourbon and single malt in the same tasting highlights the differences, and points to styles for future exploration. Pairing a whiskey with beer made from the same base grain highlights those flavors, while adding a bread or food of the same base grain makes the connections crystal clear.
Here’s an example:
Church Spirits & Ales put on a charity whisky & beer tasting event to benefit Cycling Without Age. For the this event, we served 5 oz of beer and ¾ oz of whisky. Most tastings serve less; typically 3 oz of beer, and ½ oz of whisky.
Whiskey: Still Austin, High Rye Bourbon, Beer: Rye Pale Ale, Food: Maple smoked salmon candy on dark rye bread
Whiskey: CopperWorks Single Malt, Beer: Amber Ale, Food: Smoked Gouda Fermented Cashew Nut Cheese on Barley Bread
Whiskey: DeVine Ancient Grains, Beer: Dry-hopped IPA, Food: Dark chocolate with smoked sea salt
Keep it simple, let flavour speak for itself
In this case we wanted to make the flavor comparison crystal clear, and not overwhelm the guests with too many flavors. We chose to offer only 3 pairings that allow deep appreciation of distinct flavours and not overwhelm the palate.
Beer is a better palate cleanser than water, in that water is too bland. Water erases the flavor too completely. Conversely, beer keeps mind engaged and taste buds energized. The same family of flavor maintains continuity of the experience.
For a stellar taste experience, plan your next cocktail party, guided tasting, or couples night around a pairing fine whiskey with craft beer. It’s the better way.