By: Nena Armstrong
From beer inspired whisky, to whisky inspired beer.
|OPEN ROAD BARREL-AGED BEER|
Open Road brought home Silver in the World Beer Cup in 2016 in Philadelphia for American Brown Ales. This beer really brings things all together: malt and hops, balancing flavors similar to roasting coffee. Residual sugars that weren’t broken down by the yeast during fermentation give its sweeter taste like Snickers in a glass- nutty, chocolaty, etc. Open Road Brown Ale is for those looking for something a little darker and malt-forward. Pumpernickel bread and raisins dominate the palate but finish with chocolate while the hops lend just a hint of citrus and pine to balance out the sweetness of this easy-drinking dark beer. This beer was aged in GrainHenge’s Meeting Creek whisky barrels for over 13 months. Meeting Creek whisky has flavour notes of spicy barrel character with oak, vanilla, and caramel, along with chocolate and nutty notes with honey biscuit, coconut, and a bit of honey and spice.
The Open Road beer took on a lot of whisky and oak flavours making this imperial style beer unique and smooth.
Fun Fact: Before head brewer and distiller, Garret Haynes, even made the first small batch of whisky, he knew he wanted to create this barrel-aged beer using the distillery’s own whisky barrels.
A Full Circle Moment
Garret Haynes, head brewer and distiller at Troubled Monk, used his boundless passion, talent, and knowledge of brewing to start something very special, GrainHenge Whisky.
“Whisky is essentially beer without hops that is then distilled. So the recipe and ingredients can be very similar,” Haynes says.
The first small batch of Meeting Creek Whisky was released in 2021, a new world single malt with notes of caramel, chocolate and coffee that won silver at the Canadian Whisky Awards.
This whisky release’s recipe was inspired by their American Brown Ale, Open Road. “Like Snickers in a glass,” the dark, malt-forward ale won silver in its category at the 2016 World Beer Cup, the first Alberta brewery to win a World Beer Cup Award in over 20 years.
Open Road American Brown Ale inspired the recipe for GrainHenge’s first release, Meeting Creek. The beer was then added to Meeting Creek’s whisky barrels after the whisky was bottled and the beer aged for more than a year. This full-circle moment was so special as it is not common for a beer to be aged in the distillery’s own whisky barrels.