While whisky and beer both have their devotees, never has there been a time when you could get your fix for both so easily in Melbourne’s bars. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the pages of the Good Beer Week program for 2016.
Across the five festival streams, whisky pops up again and again, showing its versatility in food matching, beer cocktails, and of course in the boilermaker – a drink gaining more and more popularity across the country.
Proving that there is more to beer and whisky tasting than meets the eye, most of the boilermaker evenings are found in the Beer Geek stream, as presented by Australian Brews News. After all, a lot can be said when discussing the powers of malt.
Boilermaker House in the CBD has such a love for the combo that it’s all in the name, and hosts an evening with Kaiju! and Archie Rose Distillery on Wednesday, 18 May, paying homage to the beauty of the boilermaker. The Feral Brewing HQ dinner on Saturday, 21 May will also deliver beer and whisky matching, paired perfectly with Boilermaker House’s charcuterie and cheese menu.
Greg Sanderson, owner and operations manager of Boilermaker House, says boilermaker events explore a drinking ritual that aims to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
“If you enjoy great craft beer and a fine whisky, drinking them side by side and playing off their interaction is the next step forward.
“One does not even need to be a big beer or whisky drinker; we will also be showcasing easy drinking beers with subtle whiskies for the beginners.”
If you’re looking to explore spirits beyond whisky, the Boilermaker’s Dozen at Penny Blue on Monday, 16 May will take you through eight beers and eight spirits, running the gamut from whisky to tequila to gin. Or, if you prefer your spirits mixed, the team from New Zealand’s Garage Project has got you covered, with a speakeasy soiree at Wilfred’s Bar at the Local Taphouse on the same night.
A natural third party to the boilermaker, gourmet cheese from around the world will accompany a range of whiskies and La Sirène’s farmhouse style ales at a Monday night event from Richmond Hill Larder and Boilermaker House.
When considering beer and whisky combinations, the idea is to find a complement, counter point, or cut through, Mr Sanderson says.
“When matching a whisky to a beer you can start at either end. Usually you will have a strong desire for either a beer or a whisky.
“Talking from my own tastes, straight after work I have the thirst for a crisp pilsner [but] late at night after dinner I might crave a lovely, smoky whisky.”
The pickle lovers are covered too, with Slowbeer’s Hops, Burn & Brine event on Wednesday, 18 May, where you can explore the range of spirits released by Danish beer heroes Mikkeller.
Beer, whisky, or brine – whatever your preferred tipple, Good Beer Week’s Beer Geek stream has you sorted.