beer and booze

April 18, 2012

After doing all the research for my latest Beer Advocate story, I have become really fascinated by not only craft distilleries, but also those who revel in the commonalities between beer and spirits. Decided to do a little write up on the five coolest intersections I have come across in my drinking travels. Wonder if I should start pitching to Imbibe…?

Originally published at LA Weekly’s food blog Squid Ink

Top 5 Spirits for Beer Geeks: Belgian-Style Rum, Hoparitas and Moonshine IPA

Valery Rizzo of
The relationship between beer and spirits is closer than you think — and not just for the growing beer cocktail trend or the “pint and a shot” special at your local dive.

Mainly, the two crafts thrive on the same fermentation science, with spirits beginning life as a fermented-sugar liquid similar to beer before being run through a still, which pumps up the alcohol by volume (ABV). Whiskey is the nearest to beer in this way, since both of their base sugars are barley (as opposed to rum’s molasses and tequila’s agave sugar base). Basically, what gets put into the still to create whiskey is a beer brewed without hops, or what is called a “wash.”

For centuries, the arts of brewing and distilling have remained on separate yet parallel paths, but one look at the American Distilling Institute’s 2012 Artisan Spirits Award winnersand it’s clear that the two industries have begun to find common ground (hopped whiskey, anyone?). In the last few years, American craft distilling has grown in a similar way to craft beer and, with more than 200 small-batch distilleries experimenting with new methods and recipes, the two industries are cross-pollinating more than ever.

So what happens when a well-known craft brewery gives leftover beer to a distillery? Or when a rum is spiced like a beer? Read on for our top 5 spirits that both bartenders and beer geeks can appreciate.



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