It was just eight short years ago that William Grant, the family whisky distiller behind Grant’s and Glenfiddich, commissioned brewer Dougal Sharp to create a beer that would impart flavor into the barrels being used to mature his whisky. With a special recipe and technique Sharp was able to create a unique, malty beer to be placed in the barrels for 30 days, before being discarded to make room for the whisky. Sharp had no idea that the beer he would produce for the whisky maker would become such a successful brand and sought-after beer.
While the ale cask whisky was a success, it was many months later, after thousands of gallons of beer had been used and discarded, that Dougal received a call that would change everything. Upon emptying the barrels and carrying out analysis of the beer, the staff at the distillery had discovered that the beer had been completely transformed by its time in the oak barrel, an unexpected yet welcomed discovery.
In 2003, after the beer had received high marks from industry experts and taste-testers, Innis & Gunn’s Oak Aged Beer was officially launched and has been a consistent award-winner in industry competitions, earning them a series of prestigious awards for their premium oak aged beer.
The beer…think vanilla, toffee and orange aromas, with a malty, lightly oaked palate; soothing and warm in the finish. It goes well with many different foods. The oak imparts a creamy smooth palate and the kind of complex, diverse flavors you might experience in a good wine. This makes it a natural match with a wide range of foods. The high alcohol content lends itself well to more robust flavors, while the lower bitterness in the beer means it does not overpower more delicate flavors.
Always a favorite among attendees at the tasting events and beer festivals, Innis & Gunn will be a star attraction at the upcoming International Great Beer Expo taking place at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 13th. Dougal Sharp, Brewmaster and Founder of Innis & Gunn, will be a special guest at the event, flying from Scotland to New York to meet and greet festival attendees. He will also be part of the event programming, leading a talk about the history of his brewing company. “We are truly honored that Mr. Sharp will be coming all the way from Scotland to be part of our show,” said event producer, Andy Calimano. “Attendees are in for a really special treat,” he added.
Curious about the name Innis & Gunn? It’s the middle names of the founder, Dougal and his brother Neil.