It’s an age-old fact that whisky and beer couldn’t make a better match, which is why one of Australia’s leading breweries, Pirate Life Brewing, has teamed up with one the country’s leading distilleries, Limeburners Whisky, to breathe new life into that king of combinations.
Pioneers within their industries, they’ve taken what they do best, beer and whisky, and blended them to create something exceptional – a Whisky Barrel Aged Stout.
The Stout will be the first of a series of speciality beers within Pirate Life’s Hindmarsh Collection, Hindmarsh being the location of Pirate Life’s original brewery and one of the older suburbs in Adelaide (1838).
Co-founder of Pirate Life Michael Cameron said the launching the Stout as the first beer within their Hindmarsh Collection was a great way to start the tradition of annual releases with Limeburners Whisky.
Pirate Life and Limeburners strongly believe every good beer and whisky tells a story, one that begins with malt and water. That’s where the similarities end and the stories head in different directions.
Where beer enjoys a cool, calm and short-lived journey, whisky’s path is one of patience and measure with the barrels aged for years at a time. Within this beer these two tales weave themselves back together.
This beer has been in development since mid-2016 when Cameron Syme, the founder of Great Southern Distilling Company and its flagship brand Limeburners Whisky, dropped past Pirate Life to say g’day and offer an impromptu tasting.
After a few sneaky whiskies and a cleansing ale or two, Cam and Mick were convinced that a Whisky Aged Stout created by both iconic brands was something Australia needed.
“We selected our best used casks for this colab, combining peated and fortified casks,” Cam said.
“The idea here is for this beer to carry both brands, in flavour and brand presence. It was important we collaborated with someone who understood my drivers had an established history of making big strong beers to complement Limeburners.”
“We thought a stout would hold up best considering the various age and condition of the barrels,” Mick said.
“Also, we knew we would need to do some blending over time and the stout was the best beer for this process.”
And the Stout is not where the story ends. As if a beer collaboration wasn’t enough, they also decided to extend the journey and collaborate to create a whisky.
To commemorate the launch of the Stout, Mick Cameron, Pirate Life co-founder Jack Cameron and Pirate Life brewer Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot will join Cameron at the home of Limeburners in Albany on Feb 21 to collectively craft and barrel a Single Malt Whisky.
“The Pirate Life Crew will love Albany. It’s such a beautiful place,” Cam said.
“MC, Jack and Red have influenced the Australian and the Global craft beer scenes. They continue to lead and show how it’s done, with much hard work. It’s great they’re coming here to put a barrel down with me.”
The Stout will first launch in Adelaide on Feb 7 at spirits bar Hains & Co, before launching in Perth on Feb 22 with a dinner at Petition Beer Corner, followed by events in Sydney and Melbourne.
When crafting the Stout, Pirate Life made the decision to complement the complexity of Limeburners Whisky by producing a rich and full-bodied beverage, having soaked up as much of that liquid gold as it could handle.
Using a solera-like system, a portion of the beer was aged for 18 months in Limeburners American Oak barrels, some for 6 months and the remainder for 3 months.
Finally, the meticulous ageing process is complete, the casks have been blended to create a balanced flavour profile and this impressive beer is ready to be released into the world.
Pour the Stout with relish, and be greeted by the sublime, silky oak barrel scent of fine malt whisky, vanilla, peat smoke, pine needles and chocolate coated honeycomb. Take a sip and the palate reveals the rich, decadent stout you’d expect, but with a surprising umami, sweet spice and gentle acidity.
Like a great whisky, this beer transforms as it slowly warms in your glass. Those with patience will discover that much like ageing whisky in a barrel, if cellared in a cool, dark place this Stout will continue to evolve and surprise.