Two of our favorite things, together at last. A style of booze that didn’t even exist a few years ago is taking over bourbon bars across the country.
Like many craft spirits, there’s more than one recipe for hopped whiskey. Nashville’s Corsair throws pounds of Galaxy hops into the still to give its Galaxy malt whiskey a tropical-fruit flavor. In California, Charbay’s R5 is distilled from 6,000 gallons of IPA. Even Glenfiddich, the Scottish giant, is bottling a scotch aged in IPA casks.
The pairing makes sense—whiskey is a distilled version of many of the grains used in beer. But hops don’t traditionally figure into it. Adding them, says whiskey historian and writer Chuck Cowdery, is a “pretty natural” evolution for experimental craft distillers hunting the next splashy libation.
It tastes like a whole new elixir. Floral notes you never knew hops could convey mix with the classic smoky, oaky sweetness of aged bourbon. “To us,” says Corsair cofounder and distiller Darek Bell, “beer is just whiskey that hasn’t reached its full potential.”