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Easy Drinking: How to Make a Boilermaker

“A shot and a beer is what we want!”

That’s how Joe Riggs, brand ambassador for Redemption Whiskey, describes the lasting appeal of the boilermaker cocktail. He was specifically speaking about bartenders and the simple needs of the post-shift drinking ritual. But love for a shot of whiskey and a beer may be more universal than that.

When it comes to cocktails, nothing could be simpler to make than a boilermaker. Perfect for the end of the day, a boilermaker is created when a neat shot of whiskey is paired with a glass of beer. Instead of merely gulping down the shot then sipping through your beer, work backward from a high quality whiskey that deserves to be savored. Choosing a beer that complements the whiskey’s profile creates a more intricate tasting session and elevates the experience.

Related Post: The Manual’s Whiskey Guide

Take, for example, Redemption Rye Whiskey. Rich with spicy complexities and notes of citrus, mint and baking spices, it still finds a way to finish smooth. “It’s really versatile in pairing,” says Riggs. He recommends coupling the whiskey with stouts and porters that are robust enough to hold up to the spiciness imparted from the rye. However, he said it’s also fair game to go the other direction and pair Redemption Rye Whiskey with light bodied lagers that take a back seat to “let the rye shine.”

One specific beer Riggs recommended for a Redemption Rye Whiskey boilermaker combination was Lagunitas Sucks, a sweet and resinous beer made from four grains, including rye. “It works very well. The malt base stands up to the rye.” Sipping back and forth between the two glasses, the interplay is exciting, with the differences in spice, alcohol burn and texture guiding the experience.

Another whiskey to try from Redemption is Redemption High Rye Bourbon. It’s is a fresh approach to the style with vanilla and caramel sneaking to the fore but with rye remaining the dominant force in the profile. The dry finish and minimum acidity finds Riggs pairing this bourbon with Christmas Ales and Marzens.

A third entry in Redemption’s catalog is Redemption Bourbon, a sweet, woody choice. This 84 proof bourbon is a smooth, balanced choice, with a nice hit of orange peel. Riggs prefers to pair Redemption Bourbon with a dry porter crafted with roasted malts. The combination of roast, citrus and vanilla flavors should make for a nice interplay between the contrasting elements.

For beer nerds and whisky aficionados alike, this cocktail presents a perfect opportunity for experimentation. If variety is the spice of life, a boilermaker is a great way to broaden and enrich your tasting experience.

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Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
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