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The old beer-and-shot combo is nothing new to blink your eyes at, the Boilermaker is any and every Bartender’s go-to and a long time staple of dive bars. What is refreshing is the rise in artisanal beer and whisky pairings - which is steadily welcomed by today’s curious drinkers. Whisky alone has very much become an ‘it’ drink, soaring into popularity right beside the craft beer revolution. And, while there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing your beer with whisky, our MoCu curators have sipped, swilled and shotted to find you this simple guide to point you in the right direction.

Pilsner & Bourbon

One of the reasons beer and whiskey marry well is because they share many of the same ingredients – malted barley, yeast, and specialty grains. While the strengths of those similar flavours hangout at differing points on the same scale, it makes pairing similar ingredients together a no-brainer. Take Pilsner and Bourbon.

Pilsners are light, crisp, refreshing, which stand up perfectly to the spicy, caramel-like flavours of bourbon and rye. A Pilsner’s characteristic bitterness also balances the sweet flavours of Bourbon, bringing out the best in the spirit. Try matching an Emerson’s Pilsner with something like Wild Turkey Bourbon.

Stout or Porter & Smokey Whisky

We’re far from sad about the rise of craft brews and the surge of artisanal spirits - if anything it means more options and when it comes to a ‘beer and a bump’ it provides unlimited avenues to explore.

We’re big on our Stouts and Porters at MoCu, their dark colour and sweet, roasted notes make for a great experience alone. But, when you pair it with a smokey whisky like Laphroaig or Ardbeg, you get something magical. 

Pale Ale & Rye Bourbon

Beer, it’s so much more than a chaser when it comes to experimenting with the traditional Boilermaker. Just as a Pale Ale can pronounce the flavours in food, so too it will expose a whole new library of flavour notes in whisky.

Depending on how balanced your Pale Ale is, if it conjures subtle herbal and citrus notes then it will be the ideal companion for similar citrus components found in a Rye Bourbon. 

IPAs & Scotch

There's no wrong way to pair whisky and beer, but it’s nice to remember that hops can easily overpower or clash with the flavours in whisky. Now, here you have a choise to either match your IPA with a whiskey that either complements, counters or cuts through the pronounced flavours of an IPA.

For safe betting, when you take a verbose hoppy beer like an IPA - with it's big fruity, bold, hop forward character it needs to be complemented by a formidable whisky that exhibits citrus tones and stone fruits.

This one takes commitment so try the Little Creatures IPA with a Glenmorangie 18 year old.  

Amber Ales

Malty and full-bodied, beer styles like Amber Ales and Red Ales are roughly quite versatile when it comes to whisky pairing. But their often sweet, toffee notes in these beers can perfectly bring out the sweet cereal like flavours in Irish whiskey, along with the spice and fruit bursting from whiskeys like Jameson.

Try it with the James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale.

At the end of the day, if you’re stuck but determined to press on with you whisky and beer pairing journey, it pays to remember that there’s no wrong way to do it. Just try to choose flavours in each tipple that will either complement, counter or cut through the other. And, as long as you're enjoying what you’re drinking, then you're doing it right. 

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