Skip to main content

Liquor Then Beer: The Highland Park and Sixpoint Collaboration

There’s a common conception that combining alcoholic drink styles is a bad idea. There’s even a rhyme about it, one I can never quite get straight, but am pretty sure goes like this: “Liquor then beer, never fear. Beer then liquor, never sicker.”

For many, the concept of “sicker” is enough to stay away from mixing your drinks all together. But for those a bit more adventurous, Highland Park Scotch Whisky and Sixpoint Brewery have just the drinks for you.

Pairing beer, wine or other alcohol with food is nothing new and the last few years have seen a growing trend in the world of beer cocktails, where beer is used as the base in a more exotic mixed drink. It’s within that context that Highland Park, a Scottish distillery with more than 200 years of experience, and Sixpoint Brewery, one of New York’s most creative breweries, came together to design two beers that complement two of Highland Park’s Scotch Whiskys.

sixpoint and highland park
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rune, a golden oat ale with honey malts is designed to pair with Highland Park 12 Year Old Scotch. Sköll, a dark beer imbued with chocolate and coffee flavors, is crafted for Highland Park Dark Origins.

I sat down for a tasting with three Savannah, Georgia based craft beer aficionados to get their opinions on the collaboration.

Corbin Parker is the owner of Bowtie Barbecue, a restaurant focused on upscale takes on classic barbecue recipes ,which boasts an impressive craft beer and whisky selection. David Barker is the proprietor of Hops & Barley, a craft-centric bottle shop in historic downtown and Raymond Gaddy is a beer columnist for Connect Savannah,, and Brew / Drink / Run.

Rune with Highland Park 12 Year Old

Parker: I tried the whisky first and that flavor had taken over my mouth. Then, I tried the beer and the Scotch unlocked lots of different qualities in the beer. Some very nice fruity flavors came out. The oat is present in the finish that combines well with the peated qualities in the Scotch.

Gaddy: I think the Scotch complements the beer very well. At first I thought the beer’s flavors were muted, but after a few sips of the Scotch, some citrus, and tropical fruits came out and the beer really impressed me.

sixpoint beer highland park whisky
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sköll with Dark Origins

Gaddy: This whisky is really good. It’s subtle and airy with a good burn to it. The beer has some woody and smoky flavors. It’s not as flavorful as Rune, instead really dry and earthy. This time, the beer complements the Scotch for me, making it sweeter and richer.

Barker: The beer tastes like a thin porter with a little roast. I like this pairing because it’s almost an opposites-attract type of situation. The Scotch has a big bite, but the beer is something you can drink all day.

Parker: The Scotch has some nice spiciness that the beer immediately put out, which made it refreshing. By itself the Scotch has an incredibly long burn.

Final thoughts

Barker: It’s interesting because when I think of Scotch, I think of a leather bound chair, smoking a cigar, and being wealthy. It’s an interesting concept to pair with beer, something I associate with being more laid back and social. It’s definitely novel to combine them.

Parker: These are both high end breweries and distilleries and I think that this is very special. I’d like to see more of this sort of thing on a grander scale.

To taste these combinations for yourself, find Rune and Sköll in select New York bars for a very limited time. Follow @HighlandParkUS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information.

Editors' Recommendations

Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
Highland Park Releases 2 New Limited-Release Bottles
Highland Park Twisted Tattoo

Highland Park is best known for two things: being the northernmost distillery in Scotland (it beats the Scapa distillery by a bit under a mile), and its Viking-themed lineup of single malt Scotch whiskies. Names like Valkyrie, Einar, Ragnvald, and Magnus abound throughout the range, imbuing the distillery with an almost mythical character. In other words, it's the kind of whisky you could picture Frodo drinking late into the night with Tyrion Lannister.

Nordic imagery aside, the whisky is often delightful, relying heavily -- but not exclusively -- on sherry cask maturation, along with a smattering of other barrel types. This gives the usually lightly-peated whisky all of its color (no additives are used), as well as dried spice and fruit flavors that complement a palate full of vanilla and caramel. Of course, all of that is subject to the particular expression you're tasting, and there are many, including two new limited edition bottles that were released over the past few months.

Read more
How to Host a Bottle Share: 5 Tips for Planning Your First Beer Tasting
Beer flight tasting types

With thousands of amazing breweries spread across the globe already open (with more on the horizon) and a constantly expanding range of styles from which to choose, it’s impossible to drink all of the world’s great beers. Attending beer festivals or ordering flights from breweries are great ways to expand your knowledge and palate. These opportunities provide several small pours of beer instead of the traditional method of ordering full-size glasses. More variety for the same quantity, if you will.

An alternative to festivals and flights is organizing a bottle share, otherwise known as your own mini beer festival.

Read more
Support National Parks this Summer By Drinking Breckenridge Brewery Pints
Pints for Parks Cuyahoga Valley

Breckenridge Brewery is making a commitment to the U.S. National Parks — and to all of us who get to enjoy those parks — with its Pints for Parks program.
With Pints for Parks, proceeds from every Breckenridge pint sold across the U.S. this summer will be donated to support national parks — which celebrated their centennial in 2016 — through the brewery's Breck Gives Back program. Breckenridge beers will be sold in nearly 7,500 bars nationwide this summer.
“The parks need love more than ever before to stay in pristine condition, so we're excited to make a difference for the National Parks system and inspire others to join in the effort to celebrate and support the parks, especially as we head into the parks' busy summer season,” Breckenridge Brewery President and Head Brewer Todd Usry said in a statement.
As part of the program, the Colorado brewery partnered with Colorado-based artist Andrew Hoffman to design seven unique pint glasses commemorating different parks across the country. The glasses will be used at bars in the regions near each of the parks featured on the glasses.

Hallett Peak and Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Breckenridge Brewery’s Rocky Mountain pint glass

Read more