19.09.19

A Guide: How to Pick The Best Whisky, Based on Beer Preferences

From the steeped-in-history half-and-half, to the boilermaker of today, beer and whisky have always been an inseparable pair – after all, they are essentially made from the same basic materials!

With the festive season fast approaching, we have put together a brief guide on how to best utilise beer preference as a tool in choosing a whisky for your perfect gift.

Wild/Sour

Acidic, vinous, fruit skins, funky, and, well… sour!
Most commonly Lambics – Gueuze and Kriek – which are fermented through exposure to wild yeasts, resulting in ‘green’ flavours such as tomato stem and forest floor. Flanders Reds are another common sub category, often aged 1+ years in oak barrels. ‘Wild’ beers are ones that exhibit an earthiness born of the Brettanomyces yeast strain.

Enjoy Wild/Sour Beer? Try Clynelish for an unparalleled waxy texture and prominent orange blossom note, Mannochmore for a fresh, minty alternative, or Wolfburn for a citrusy and spritely dram.

Barrel Farm Sour by Blackmans is fermented on French oak, time in cask adds a fullness to the texture, as well as a hint of vanilla.

Lager

Crisp, fruity, light, and clean.
Bottom fermented. Meaning less “complicated” flavour.

Before we get into the rest of it, did you know there are just two types of beer that all beer styles come from? Like red and white wine, in the beer world, there are ales and lagers.
Ales = Pale Ale, IPA, Stout, Porter, Sour, Wheat + more
Lager = Lager, Pilsner, Bocks + more
The difference between the two, is how each is created. To summarise: if it is an Ale, that means fermentation takes place at the top of the fermentation tank, in warm conditions. If it is a Lager, that means fermentation takes place at the bottom of the tank, in cool conditions.

Enjoy Lager? Try Balblair for honey and orchid fruit notes, or Dalwhinnie for a flavour profile of oat cakes and pastry.

Dalwhinnie predominantly uses bourbon barrels, ensuing subtle sweetness in the character of their aged spirit.

IPA (India Pale Ale)

One word: Hops.
Bitter, grassy, floral, citrusy and piney.


To satisfy the palate of an IPA loving hop-head, you’re going to want to match the enormity of the style. Big bitter, piney and floral notes encompass an overall dank beer.

Enjoy IPA? Try Teaninich for a grassy and textural take, Mortlach for the big, sulphurous and sweet, or Springbank for lemon cream biscuits, a solid whack of tobacco and oak, cradled into long finish.

From left to right: Teaninich – Springbank – Glenburgie-Glenlivet.

Stout/Porter

Chocolate, liquorice, caramel, malt.

A dark, medium-bodied beer, ripe with malty goodness.
Invented by Barmen in 18th century England, the ‘porter’ was originally a blend of light, hop-forward beers with aged ales. The ‘stout’ then became a product of 18th century Brewers creativity, where they began to add different ingredients to boost the alcohol content, ensuing a stronger version of a porter.


Enjoy Stout/Porter? Try Caol Ila for a lesson in salted caramel, vanilla and peat, Archie Rose for a playful, spicy rye, or Benromach for a flavour profile stacked with rich roasted malts and honey.

Sweet and Peat meet, in the Benromach Sherry Cask.

In this golden age of craft whisky and beer production, consumers and industry alike are spoiled with a plethora of styles. We at Whisky & Alement understand that sifting through such a broad spectrum of flavour can be a taxing task. So! If you are unsure, or if your preferred style has not been covered, we encourage you to drop into the bar for a chat.


Sláinte,
The Whisky & Alement Team