AN ICONIC Scottish distillery has announced it will be turning its hand to brewing for the first time ever, with the launch of a new whisky-inspired beer.
Islay Distillery, Ardbeg, have partnered William Bros Brewing Co. and craft beer social enterprise Brewgooder, to launch the drink – with all profits going to support clean water projects.
The Shortie Smoky Porter – named after Ardbeg’s beloved canine mascot, Shortie the Jack Rusell, will be available next week from Ardbeg suppliers.
At a virtual tasting yesterday, the beer’s creators and best friends Alan Mahon and Alan McIntyre revealed that, like all great ideas, the concept was first dreamed up while sitting in the pub.
Over the next four months, the team developed the beer, taking inspiration from their Ten Years Old whisky – and the result is unmistakably Ardbeg.
The quick turnaround is all the more remarkable when you consider the complexity of beer Ardbeg have offered up, which matches the layers of their whisky in depth and number.
The first sip is a rush of trademark Ardbeg peatiness, but a scaled back, smoother version, generated by using the same peated malt that helps create Ardbeg’s whisky.
In fact, fans of the brand may be left seeking more smokiness from the Smoky Porter, however the restraint shown here makes room for the brew’s subtler notes to shine.
Subsequent sips reveal hints of burnt toffee, that sit perfectly alongside the naturally malty flavour of the beer.
They have even managed to capture the warming, slightly medicinal aftertaste often associated with a single malt, combining it with the lingering taste and sensation of a good coffee.
It was interesting to note the mellowing impact the flavour of the beer has on the whisky itself, although at 6.2% per can, it would be wise to exercise caution when testing this out.
The only thing more satisfying than the brew, is perhaps the knowledge that each sip is helping to provide funds to support clean water initiatives in Malawi.
Alan Mahon of Brewgooder explained: “This collaboration is particularly special for me. To create an incredible beer that helps empower people’s lives is one thing, to do it with one of the world’s best whisky brands is another, but to bring it to life with my best friend: there are few things I have been prouder of in my life.
“I look forward to working with the team at Ardbeg to turn the profits from this beer into life-saving clean water wells for those who need them.”
Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery Manager, added: “Not only is this a hugely important cause – that we’re delighted to be a part of – but The Shortie Smoky Porter is of course a first for the Distillery.
“Helping brew a beer may seem like uncharted territory for Ardbeg, but as any whiskyphile worth their malt will tell you, beer and whisky share the same DNA.
“Just like brewers, we ferment our malt. The only difference being, we hold on to the hops. We hope that Ardbeggians and craft beer lovers alike will enjoy this extra special limited edition.”
The Shortie Smoky Porter will be available to purchase for £14 for four 330ml cans from Ardbeg.com and Ardbeg suppliers on 13 August.