Beer whisky. Yum. We’re not talking about distiller’s beer here (the alcoholic liquid produced through fermentation, which is then distilled to produce a spirit). We’re talking about using craft beer you might actually drink as the base to distill a whisky. It’s become a thing over the last few years — a cool way to showcase the genetics of a beer in a spirit — and more and more brewers are getting into the distilling category to diversify their portfolios.
Here’s an example: This month, as part of the Craft Brewers Whiskey Project, Berkshire Mountain Distillers is releasing three whiskies sourced from popular brewers featuring Samuel Adams, Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers and Berkshire Brewing Co. Established in 2007, Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Sheffield, Mass., produces a variety of small batch spirits with cool names: Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gin, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey. These products are currently available in 19 different states (find them here). Dig their spread:
Berkshire Mountain’s Craft Brewers Whiskey Project has been a five-year collaboration that includes the distilling of a dozen different beers from a limited collection of Northeast craft brewers. The first releases of whiskies in this series were distilled from beers brewed by Massachusetts Bay Brewing Co., Spencer Brewery and Big Elm Brewing. Later releases will highlight celebrated Brewery Ommegang, Captain Lawrence Brewing, Smuttynose Brewing, Long Trail Brewing Co., Two Roads Brewing and Chatham Brewing. Each addition is blended to 86 proof using Berkshire Mountain’s historic spring water and packaged in custom bottles with brewer-designed labels. From the press release:
“We’ve dabbled in distilling beer before, originally with Samuel Adams, and received great feedback. The natural progression was to expand that project. Fortunately, there are a lot of amazing brewers in our region,” said Chris Weld, founder/proprietor of Berkshire Mountain Distillers. “There’s a wonderful amalgamation between the craft beer and craft spirits worlds — a lot of people who drink whiskey also love craft beer, so there’s a natural curiosity from those folks to see what a whiskey distilled from their favorite beer would taste like. We’re excited these whiskeys are finally ready to be enjoyed.”
Whiskies will be sold in the Berkshire Mountain tasting room and then released to select stores throughout 2021. This latest batch highlights Boston Lager from Samuel Adams, Berkshire Brewing Co.’s Imperial Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale and Jack’s Abby’s Smoke & Dagger Black Lager.
“Smoke & Dagger has long been a beer favorite of whiskey drinkers and it’s incredible to see it come full circle and become a Berkshire Mountain Distillers whiskey,” said Rob Day, Senior Director of Marketing at Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers. “It’s been a long, patient wait, but you’ll certainly appreciate the reveal of this mystery.”