Meet the WhiskyBack Family
Scottish Red Ale
With WhiskyBack Red, a Cascadia and Scotland-inspired Red Ale, we started with flavors and characteristics of Highland and Speyside single malts, searching for beer styles that paired with floral, fruity, grassy, spicy, nutty, American and sherry oak and malt flavors. The beer was inspired by classics such as Belhaven 80 shilling, the original Bridgeport Blue Heron, Alt biers and softly hopped pale ales. The emphasis is on the malty, fruity and herbal flavors and aromas found in classic Scottish real ales.
We use Scottish Golden Promise malted barley, a highly regarded variety, as the primary malt in the recipe. Golden Promise gives a sturdy body to the Red, along with pleasant biscuit and toasty flavors. Specialty malts are sourced from British maltsters, Hugh Baird and Thomas Fawcett. Flaked barley lends viscosity and body, and Rye malt adds mouth feel and a spicy dryness, setting the palate up for the next sip of whisky.
The hops are predominantly Cascadian: Columbus, Willamette and Cascade. They endow the beer with an herbal harmony of spicy, floral, citrus, woody and hay characteristics not unlike those in many a well-crafted malt whisky. The Red is a grand match for pub & comfort food and charcuterie.
The inspiration for a beer to pair with the caramel, vanilla sweet/spicy characteristics of American Bourbon and Rye came from Pre-Prohibition American lagers, classic Bohemian Pilsners and Kentucky Common Beer, a rare indigenous American beer. Homage is due to the German American influence on distilling and brewing in Kentucky and the Midwest.
We wanted a crisp, clean Pilsner style of beer with Bohemian & American roots and plentiful character. The base is a marriage of Pilsner, Munich domestic two row and Golden Promise malted barley. Flaked maize is a flavor carrier that adds a grainy sweetness to the beer. The spicy dryness of Rye malt contrasts with the maize, and is a link to the small grain in most Bourbon recipes and of course Rye whiskey itself. A gentle addition of wheat performs a similar, softer function.
The bittering hop is Columbus, floral and spicy. In homage to the German brewing influence in America, the Gold is dry-hopped with noble Hallertauer Mittelfruh, alongside Admiral and Ella. These hop varieties give the Gold spicy, creamy, floral, orange citrus and apricot notes. WhiskyBack Gold pairs wonderfully with barbecue, spicy food cultures and charcuterie. For a refreshing Bohemian Rhapsody, add a zest of orange to the beer.
Peaty, oily, medicinal, smoky and briny are just a few descriptors for the big single malts of Islay, the great whisky sodden Hebridean island. We needed a complex yet drinkable beer to work magic with the equally complex peated whiskies from Scotland and elsewhere. We found it in WhiskyBack Black Cream Porter, paying tribute to oatmeal and oyster stouts, Dublin, London and American porters.
Oats, a sturdy and healthy Scottish grain, add creaminess and viscosity to the beer. Specialty porter and stout malts, including Black Prinz, add bittersweet, chocolate and coffee nuances to the Black, allowing it to dance provocatively with the briny character of coastal single malts and Campbeltown drams. Rye malt acknowledges it's historical use in Scottish and Irish whiskies, and there’s an underlying, teasing hint of smoke derived from barley smoked over beechwood.
WhiskyBack Black is designed to marry with the big, bruising Islay drams, the rich and briny whiskies from Campbeltown and the Scottish coastal regions, and the pure pot still original gems from Ireland. (And it's not bad with seafood or raw oysters...the latter combination of flavors we call a Glasgow Kiss.)