It’s time to take a break from all of that laborious pairing of wine and food, beer & cheese, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails… It’s time to get down to the serious business of pairing drinks with drinks!
Hedonistic? Perhaps, but I can’t resist the harmonious pairing of Malt Whiskey with a pure malt Beer. It’s a pairing that just works. It’s a classic case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. At the end of the day this is just a deeper exploration into the classic shot and a beer pairing.
Why Does Whiskey & Ale Work?
Simply put, both Beer and Malt Whiskey have the same childhood. The first three days of life for both are nearly identical. They start by mashing grains in hot water in order to extract the sweet nectar that’s found within the malted barley. In the next phase yeast is introduced to convert the malt sugars to alcohol. Once this process is complete you have a young Beer. In the hands of the brewer, the Beer will soon be in our hands. In the hands of the distillery this Beer will soon become a young raw spirit that will then become a Whiskey after years in oak casks.
Beer and Malt Whiskey are siblings separated shortly after birth and lovingly reunited by you.
What Kind of Beer with My Whiskey?
Among Beer, Ales tend to work best. Ales are typically fuller bodied, slightly fruity, and wondrously raw in comparison with most Lager styles.
The best all-purpose Beer with Malt Whiskey, in my opinion, is the Dry Stout such as Guinness or Murphy’s Stout to name just a couple. Dry stout is rich without being heavy or hot with alcohol nor is it sweet. At the other end of the scale, crisp Pilsner style Lagers are the least attractive pairing but it still can work assuming that hop levels are moderate. In the world of lager and Whiskey pairings look to German Dunkels and Bock. We have also found that aggressively hoppy Beers do not work (what do they work with?) as the hops tread all over the Whiskey’s subtle notes and amplify the alcohol.
|Soft, Scottish Lowland Malts||English Style IPA or Pale Ale|
|Medium-bodied Highland Malts||Mild Ale or Irish Style Amber|
|Rich, Malty Highland Malts||Dry Stout or Vienna Style Lager|
|Smokey, Island Style Malt||Rich Scottish Export Ales|
|Irish Pure Pot Still||Altbier or Porter|