By Richard Thomas
Samuel Adams Summer Ale and Basil Hayden Bourbon
Here are two drinks that compliment and pair together very well. At 80 proof, Basil Hayden is one of the lightest premium bourbons. As an American Pale Wheat Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale is also on the light side of its category. Basil Hayden comes from Beam’s high rye stock, so it has a spicy, somewhat dry character, one that goes well with the hoppy lemon peel and bitter aspects of the summer ale. Drink the beer cold and the Basil Hayden on the rocks.
Founders Porter and Lagavulin 16 Year Old
This robust porter delivers a rich chocolate and coffee roast experience, enhanced by a touch of smoke, and is the kind of beer that stands as an ideal stablemate for a classic Islay malt. For it’s part, Lagavulin 16 is about as classic an Islay malt as they come. The whisky has a rich, heavy body that matches the porter drop for drop, while its huge smoky presence is balanced by notes of spiciness, iodine and Sherry fruit.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Maker’s Mark
These two go together well as a matched pair in refreshing contrast. Maker’s has the sweetly floral, wheated bourbon thing down pat. It’s a pleasant, easy-going sipper, and is both relaxing and a little invigorating on ice. The red ale, nicely hopped and astringent flavor of Sierra Nevada. The one washes the palate for the other, and together they are perfect for winding down on the patio.
Guinness and Jameson Caskmates
No take on the subject of pairing beers with shots of whiskey would be complete without the highest profile example of going full circle with barrel aging, Jameson Caskmates. New Midleton Distillery sent casks used to age whiskey used in making Jameson to an Irish craft brewery, who used them to make barrel-aged stout. Those beer-soaked, ex-bourbon barrels used to age Irish whiskey were then sent back and put to work finishing regular Jameson, bringing the whole thing full circle. It’s an idea that has been catching on, so expect to see more of it.
While the beer that sat in the middle of the Caskmates life cycle wasn’t Guinness, you’re highly unlikely to find any Franciscan Well stout outside of Ireland. Guinness, on the other hand, is universal.
Miller High Life and Wild Turkey 101
Is there any possible combination of beer and bourbon that carries as much dive bar chic while retaining quality as these two? If there is, I haven’t heard of it. Miller High Life was always one of the best of the mass market American lagers. Wild Turkey 101 has long been one of the best bang for your buck bourbons around. Put the two together the next time you are in your favorite low-light, dark paneled watering hole.