Behold the boilermaker

The boilermaker is a cultural shift and a revolutionary way to enjoy fine spirits and craft beer.For the uninitiated a ‘boilermaker’ is a fancy way to describe a beer and a shot of whisky.

It offers a tradesman like delivery unit to ensure rapid intoxication, but I think it is also a great opportunity to pair up fine spirits and craft beer.

You see not only is boilermaker effective, but it’s a delicious, low maintenance, and decidedly manly way to drink.

Americana is presently having a massive influence on the new wave of bars opening up around the country, and fortunately for us, behind their façade of often ironic divey-ness is a real focus on quality drinks.

Melbourne’s laneway and local bars are heaving with fine liquor and fridges labouring to chill a fine selection of craft brews, and its recent Good Beer Week brought together thousands of adoring beer enthusiasts in celebration of this ancient beverage.

Things are a changing in Sydney too – bars, and not necessarily dedicated beer venues, are offering heaps of more diverse options for drinkers.

Sydney’s Shady Pines – a thigh slapping, yee-ha-ing American Southwestern joint – is in the vanguard of venues that are transforming the way we drink.

They’ve coupled a raucous vibe with quality imported spirits and brews (often imported from Melbourne). Despite having a sharp wine list and being able to whip up a mean cocktail the joint was, and still is, a beer and a shot sort of place.

It’s a simple formula that has seen its owners open a second venue; The Baxter Inn in the central business district. Bursting at the seams from the moment it opened, even the corporate crowd are sipping on their premium boilermakers.

If you’re going to give it go, however you should do it right – don’t slam it down, but rather sip and savour. A good pairing is essential too – so here’s a few suggestions to get you going:

Vale/Drk & Oban

Vale/Drk is an ‘American dark lager’ produced by then McLaren Vale Beer Company. Displaying plenty of coffee, citrus and jaffa notes, Vale/Drk has a generously rich malt palate. The mood is lightened by this brew’s balancing bitterness.

Try your Vale/Drk with a drier style spirit – Oban 14 year old single malt Scotch, offers orange peel, fruits and salted caramel with a strong dry finish. Oban’s lick of peat smoke and maritime quality accent the sweeter notes in the beer. Unwind from your day with these two and you won’t be disappointed.

White Rabbit White Ale & Jose Cuervo Platino

If you’re wanting to try a lighter, perhaps more summery take on a boilermaker then this is a good bet. White Rabbit White Ale is brewed in Healesville, Victoria, from wheat and a carefully selected strain of Belgian brewing yeast in open fermenters. Clean orange and lemon citrus notes, coriander and slightly peppery juniper are refreshing when combined with a delicate use of bittering hops.

This brew really comes alive when paired with a quality 100 per cent agave tequila like Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Platino. Fruity, herbaceous and peppery, this tequila has a crystalline purity that works perfectly with this lighter style brew to create a drinking experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Alpha Queen & Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Alpha Queen ‘Highly Hopped Ale’ by the Boatrocker Brewing Company is an American style pale ale bursting with flavour. True to its style there’s buckets of citrusy, floral and resinous hop character balanced by full bodied malt. It’s a beautiful beast of a brew that can stand up to anything you want to throw at it.

Well I recommend that you throw a dram of Laphroaig’s double matured Quarter Cask single malt Scotch whisky at it. It’s initial velvety sweetness soon transforms into a firm fist of peat smoke, school nurse’s red paint and sea spray. It’s a hell of a paring this one – but definitely something to end your night on.

Are you a fan of the ‘boilermaker’, and if so, what’s your favourite combo?

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