You’ve heard of craft beer and craft spirits but now craft beer cocktails are set to shake up the drinks trade after a specialist beer company paired with a cocktail business to produce a range of cocktails with whisky barrel-aged beer at their heart.
Glasgow-based beer company, The Clan Brewing Co, and hospitality business Raise the Bar Glasgow have collaborated to create a tailor-made range of eight craft beer cocktails.
The cocktails were created by mixologist and entrepreneur Dillon Barrie using the Clan’s four speciality beers, which have been aged for months in specially selected single malt whisky casks.
Mr Barrie said: “I’ve known about these whisky cask-aged beers for a while, and was really excited by the challenge of making unique cocktails out of these big beers! There’s layer and layer of flavour in these beers, and they actually lend themselves very well to cocktails. In the end, we created about 20 different cocktails but narrowed it down to a short-list of eight.”
Mr Barrie revealed that although lager has been a recipe in cocktails for decades, he was hoping to shake up the cocktail scene by using the Clan’s speciality whisky beers in future events. “Lagers and more recently IPAs feature in cocktails like the Lagerita but really they’re just there to top up the drink or maybe help balance other flavours. With this new range of craft beer cocktails, these beers, which all have their own unique and distinctive character, are at the heart of the creation.
“The beer flavours, the notes that have come from the wood, the hop profiles, these are all working together. I was impressed at how versatile they are and how they complement and enhance the various other flavours and ingredients I’ve added in these cocktails. I’m really excited by them. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions once restrictions caused by Covid-19 start to lift.”
Cocktail fans wanting to try the new tipples can check out the social accounts for Raise the Bar Glasgow and the Craft Beer Clan for the recipes, including the Imperial Iced Tea, made with the Clan’s 8% Imperial Stout aged in Lowland casks, or a Berry Rye Sling, made with the Clan’s 8% Red Rye Ale, which was aged in Speyside casks.
The Clan Brewing Co has already carved out a reputation for its innovative products and approach. Using a collaborative model, the Clan’s beers are brewed by Williams Brothers using recipes developed by Scott Williams, one of the pioneers of Scotland’s craft beer renaissance and co-founder of Williams. Each beer in the range – Imperial Stout, Red Rye, Golden Ale and Spruce Ale – is aged in a regional malt whisky casks selected by Master of the Quaich Charles MacLean, one of Scotland’s greatest whisky experts and who has spent a lifetime in the industry. MacLean chose each cask so the flavours left over from maturing whisky would add their own character to the beer. The casks themselves come from Lowland, Speyside, Highland and Islay distilleries.
Chris Miller, CEO of the Clan Brewing Co, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of the Clan Brewing Co, and this exciting partnership with Raise the Bar Glasgow is just the latest, and follows a series of commercial successes and awards, including seven medals at the European Beer Challenge, export breakthroughs in the USA and Japan, and sales deals with the likes of Amazon, Flavourly and Aldi.”
The latest deal with Aldi has seen the supermarket purchase some 6,000 bottles of the speciality craft beers ahead of Father’s Day this Sunday, with the beers available across the multiple’s Scottish stores.
Mr Miller said the new recipes would be shared with distributors and retailers including US and Japanese importers.
He added: “With the devastation caused by Covid-19 hitting the on-trade, many of us are deeply worried about the future of the industry. But it’s important to keep driving onwards, to diversify, to innovate and to challenge. Innovations such as craft beer cocktails are something we hope will help to entice people back into bars; while the bars that are seen to mix things up and come up with fresh ideas will surely be the bars that people return to.”
Mr Miller, who is credited with driving the whisky beer style during his time at Harviestoun, said: “With the Clan Brewing range, we carefully developed four recipes to work with the distinctive flavour notes of four whisky regions, and we worked closely with Charles MacLean to source the right casks. Not an easy task, but fortunately we had the expertise and experience of both Charles and Scott! The beers are themselves superb with high international demand, but the cocktails now add an extra dimension and I’m delighted by how they’ve turned out!”