Making whiskey from beer is one way to bridge the divide between craft beer and spirit drinkers
There appears to be a divide in the craft community.
Craft spirit drinkers drink craft spirits. And craft beer drinkers drink craft beer.
Chances are, if you’re someone who enjoys sipping craft whiskey from a tumbler, you have more in common with the person enjoying a frothy pint of craft lager than you think.
Why is it that when it comes to libations people are seldom willing to move outside of their comfort zone?
See, there’s no divide at all.
You’re both reveling in the handcrafted artistry from a craft distiller or brewer. You are each enthusiasts of the finely tuned flavors in your respective glasses.
The craft movement, both spirit and beer, are united in the exploration of, and experimentation with, bold new flavors.
It was inevitable that the two ends of the movement would collaborate to start distilling beer into IPA whiskey, or join together to create cask-sharing programs to finish bourbons in stout casks.
Their partnerships in craft have created a delicious middle ground for spirit drinkers and beer lovers. Every bottle of distilled-beer whiskey or beer barreled rum contains the very best of both craft communities.
A collection of collaboration
Making whiskey from beer is nothing new. Germans have been distilling beer for generations with bierschnaps.
The reason is simple.
The process of distilling beer, and distilling spirits in general, is a lot like reducing a sauce or a cocktail syrup.
All of those signature beer flavors, be it the bright, fragrant hoppy notes of an IPA or the deep, rich creaminess of a stout are going to be concentrated in the distillate.
On the other side of the coin, a wealth of the flavor in whiskey, bourbon, and rum are picked up from the barrels they’re aged in.
By sharing barrels with craft breweries, distillers add another dimension to their artisanally crafted spirits. A dimension of flavor that will pleasantly surprise any beer-touting whiskey skeptic.
In this collection, there are two different types of craft beer adjacent spirits. Some are spirits distilled from beers, and some are spirits aged in beer barrels. Regardless of what the label says, the liquid inside the bottle promises to be a craft creation of the highest degree.
Let’s find that beer lover a bottle.
Schnapsleiche Spirits | Bierschnaps
When making spirits from beer, Schnapsleiche Spirits keeps things authentic.
Washington’s Schnapsleiche Spirits has been producing authentic German-style schnaps from local fruits since they opened in 2009. Why not try their hand at making bierschnaps?
They teamed with their Woodinville neighbors at Dirty Bucket Brewing to distill their Filthy Hoppin’ IPA into the hop-forward Bierschnaps. If you know someone that loves IPAs, you know someone that will love their Bierschnaps.
Griffo Distillery | Stout Barreled Whiskey
Two staples of the California craft community meet in this Stout Barreled Whiskey.
Sonoma County may best be known as one of the largest producers of wine grapes in California wine country. But there’s more to be excited about there than grapes. Like the beautiful partnership between Griffo Distillery and Lagunitas Brewery.
It’s a partnership that bred Stout Barreled Whiskey. The nutty flavors of the whiskey are altered and amplified after finishing its aging process inside of barrels that once housed rich, chocolatey stout from Lagunitas. It’s decadent enough to sit on its own dessert platter.
Vitae Spirits | Champion Brewing Collab. #1
At Vitae Spirits, distilling beer is an ongoing experiment, yielding exciting new flavors.
Some people ask their neighbors for a cup of sugar. Vitae Spirits asks their Charlottesville, Virginia neighbors at Champion Brewing Company for more than a cup of their Violator Dopplebock, a lightly-hopped, German-style lager.
They distill the beer down into the aptly named Champion Brewing Collab 1. It’s a one-time release. That means these delicious breakfast cereal flavors make the perfect exclusive gift for the beer enthusiast in your life.
Bent Brewstillery | Stormbringer Rum
Combo brewery-distilleries are at the epicenter of experimentation of spirits and beer.
Bent Brewstillery, a combination brewery-distillery in Minnesota, has been making award-winning craft spirits and beer since 2012. With a brewery and distillery under one roof, the cross-experimentation never ends.
One of those experiments is their Stormbringer Rum. Their imperial stout Dark Fatha is aged in used bourbon barrels. Those barrels work double duty when they’re used to age Stormbringer Rum. Robust bursts of dark flavors make this a stout drinker’s dream.
Painted Stave Distilling | Double TroubleD Malt Whiskey
Painted Stave Distilling made an extraordinary spirit when they started distilling beer.
Painted Stave Distilling was born when the founders combined their plans to open their own distilleries. Together, they created something award-winning in Smyrna, Delaware. Why not extend that collaboration outside of their partnership?
With their friends over at Fordham and Dominion Brewing in Dover, they started making beer into whiskey. They took their Double D Imperial IPA, distilled it down, and aged it 18 months in used whiskey barrels, and they call it their Double TroubleD Malt Whiskey.
Iron Fish Distillery | Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Imperial Stout Casks
The flavors from two essential Michigan artisans merge effortlessly in this craft bourbon.
To put the perfect finish on the bourbon whiskey, Iron Fish Distillery sends their barrels on a thirty-mile trip from Thompsonville, Michigan to Traverse City. The casks are addressed to The Filling Station Microbrewery.
The barrels are used to age The Filling Station’s Imperial Stout. And when they’re returned to Iron Fish, they impart brilliant flavors of cherry, dark chocolate, and dried fruit on the Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Imperial Stout Casks.
Toledo Spirits Company | Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
An ever-changing distilled-beer experience from an independent Toledo distillery.
Life is like a bottle of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. You never know what you’re going to get. Well, that’s not totally true. Toledo Spirits Company makes each batch of their distilled-beer whiskey from a different brew from local microbreweries.
That means you never get the same experience twice. But, no matter what beer they’re distilling, the end result is a perfect harmony of all the best that whiskey and beer have to offer.
Copper Bottom Craft Distillery | Beer Barreled Rum
This is no IPA Whiskey. This is Beer Barreled Rum from Copper Bottom Craft Distillery.
Copper Bottom Craft Distillery’s addition to this list fluctuates a bit from the rest. But rest assured, this collaboration pairs two of the very best that Florida has to offer into one delicious offering.
Odd Elixir Meadworks ages their Marie Curie Mead in Copper Bottom’s rum barrels for six months before shipping them back. After a short rest in the barrels, Copper Bottom’s Gold Rum becomes the unforgettable Beer Barreled Rum. The bottle is limited edition, so get your craft collectors item now!
Dark Door Spirits | Spirit of IPA Whiskey
Dark Door Spirits is distilling beer into IPA Whiskey at independent Tampa distillery.
With their Spirit of IPA, Dark Door Spirits created a two-drink experience in every glass. Distilling Shade Tree IPA from Crooked Thumb Brewery, their partners just across Old Tampa Bay, they’ve made as close to an IPA whiskey as possible.
In just one sip, the Spirit of IPA presents all the best notes of an IPA and whiskey. Citrusy, hoppy notes sandwich the warm vanilla and caramel flavors in this award-winning craft specialty.
Sinister Distilling | Sinner Series - Experimental Batch no. 5
From the beer and spirit experts at Sinister Distilling comes a spicy craft experiment.
Sinister Distilling works hard to bring beer and spirit drinkers together. Oregon’s joint brewery-distillery loves to experiment turning all different types of beers, both theirs and some from other craft breweries, into spirits that everyone around the table will love.
The fifth experiment in their ‘Sinner Series’ takes a local finished chili beer and rests it in new American Oak barrels for five years. After a half-decade’s sleep, the beer becomes Sinner Series - Experimental Batch no. 5. Its slight heat makes the perfect Bloody Mary.
Dragon Distillery | Dragon Dog’s Frederick Rye Whiskey
Friends from Frederick, Maryland made history by teaming up to make this rye whiskey.
Remember when we said that there were two types of spirits on this list? Well, there’s a third type too. It’s neither whiskey distilled from beer, nor is it aged in a beer cask. This outlier comes by way of two Frederick, Maryland craft staples, Dragon Distillery and Flying Dog Brewery.
Flying Dog prepares a mash consisting of nine different specialty strains of rye for their friends at Dragon Distillery. Then, the independent distillery expertly crafts the mash into something historic. Dragon Dog’s Frederick Rye Whiskey the first rye whiskey to be made in their hometown.
Distilling beer, IPA whiskey, and a whole lot of barrels
With stouts, lagers, and IPAs, this collection of craft spirits covers every type of beer lover. But we ask again, why limit yourself to the flavors you already know?
Be a little adventurous. Try something you haven’t had before. Better yet, something you’ve never even heard of.
Isn’t that what loving craft is all about?
Craft is about the folks behind the scenes at independent distilleries and breweries. The ones who work tirelessly to craft innovative spirits and beer that showcase flavors the world has never seen.