Whiskey For The Craft Beer Lover

Featured Contributor Danielle Cherrick @SocialSippers


There is a large following in the craft beer world and an even larger following in the world of whiskies, but the two really aren’t worlds apart. Whiskey and beer, although they are completely different kinds of alcohol, they are more similar than you may think. The fermentation of whiskey and beer are very similar, as well as the aging processes, and if you really are passionate about what goes into beer you can easily match up similar flavors. If you’re a craft beer drinker who’s looking to learn more about whiskey, we’ve got a few recommendations to make the transition a little easier.

Should You Drink Whiskey The Same Way You Drink Beer?

It may sound silly, but learning to drink whiskey is an important part of the beginner’s process. Most people enjoy a good beer and slug it back, but you don’t want to throw back whiskey like you would a can of beer. There’s an art to drinking whiskey and if you throw it back you’re not going to like it. Slugging back a whiskey would be like gulping hot tea.

Although whiskey isn’t hot in temperature, you can feel a burning sensation as you’re drinking, especially if you’re not used to it. In order to really enjoy a whiskey you want to take a sip, swirl it around your palette and slowly let the whiskey make it’s way to the back of your throat. This way you’ll be able to learn how to pick up the different flavor profiles whiskey has.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to start out with lighter whiskies. If you go right for the kill and try something rich and intense you may not like it. Start out with something a little easier to get acquainted with. However, you’ll probably relate to the whiskies that have similar flavor profiles as the beers you like. If possible, try whiskies that have similar flavor profiles to the beer to enjoy.

Irish Style Whiskey
If you’re a Guinness drinker you should try an Irish style whiskey. Although stouts are dark in color, they are usually lighter in body with a sweeter taste. Irish whiskies by law have to be aged in barrels for a minimum 3 years. Single Malt Irish Whiskey is made from 100% malted barely.

Starting out with something that’s traditionally lighter will help you ease into the whiskey world. The Wild Geese is a suggested Irish whisky to start. It has a layered oak flavor with hints of vanilla and summer berries.

Rye Whiskey
If you like the taste of coffee and spice like the flavors in Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout then you should try a Rye whiskey. Rye grain is known for adding  what many call a spicy or fruity flavor to the whiskey. Bulleit Bourbon is a great recommendation. It has  a spicy flavor with an underlying sweetness.

If you’re an Amber Ale drinker then you must enjoy deep rich flavors. Bourbon is a form of whiskey that’s made primarily from corn, and usually contains strong notes of caramel and vanilla. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is great bourbon to try if you like those intense flavors. It has an amber color with notes of cinnamon and an earthy undertone.

IPAs are a hoppy beer that usually requires an acquired taste. If you enjoy an IPA and want to give whisky a try, check out IPA Whiskey from Charbay. If you didn’t’ already know, all whiskey starts out as distill beer. The IPA whiskey from Charbay is actually the Racer 5 IPA that is double distilled in copper pot stills. There are two different versions, the clear and the aged.

The aged version mellows in French oak casks for 22 months, which the clear is bottled straight from the tap. The clear aged has a more fruitier aroma and taste and the aged version has more of a chocolate and oak profile.

Finding what kind of whiskey suits your palette can take some time. There are many different varieties that range in intensity and flavor. However, don’t forget the beer world is very similar. If you’re a craft beer junkie than you can appreciate what goes into making the perfect beer. It takes time to develop the knowledge and taste for some of the beers you now are huge fans of. Take those same principals and start your introductory to whiskey. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Editor’s note: Sommbeer thank’s Danielle for taking the time to put this piece together, please check out www.socialsippers.com for more info on Liquor, Wine, and Cocktails!

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Senior Editor at Sommbeer.com
Fan of Hockey, Football, and Mexican Food. Preferes beers in the style of Stout, Porter, IPA, and Red Ales.
Not a fan of Pumpkin beer or Sours