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Behold the boilermaker

The boilermaker is a cultural shift and a revolutionary way to enjoy fine spirits and craft beer.

The boilermaker is a cultural shift and a revolutionary way to enjoy fine spirits and craft beer.

For the uninitiated a 'boilermaker' is a fancy way to describe a beer and a shot of whisky.

It offers a tradesman like delivery unit to ensure rapid intoxication, but I think it is also a great opportunity to pair up fine spirits and craft beer.

You see not only is boilermaker effective, but it's a delicious, low maintenance, and decidedly manly way to drink.

Americana is presently having a massive influence on the new wave of bars opening up around the country, and fortunately for us, behind their façade of often ironic divey-ness is a real focus on quality drinks.

Melbourne's laneway and local bars are heaving with fine liquor and fridges labouring to chill a fine selection of craft brews, and its recent Good Beer Week brought together thousands of adoring beer enthusiasts in celebration of this ancient beverage.

Things are a changing in Sydney too – bars, and not necessarily dedicated beer venues, are offering heaps of more diverse options for drinkers.

Sydney's Shady Pines – a thigh slapping, yee-ha-ing American Southwestern joint – is in the vanguard of venues that are transforming the way we drink.

They've coupled a raucous vibe with quality imported spirits and brews (often imported from Melbourne). Despite having a sharp wine list and being able to whip up a mean cocktail the joint was, and still is, a beer and a shot sort of place.

It's a simple formula that has seen its owners open a second venue; The Baxter Inn in the central business district. Bursting at the seams from the moment it opened, even the corporate crowd are sipping on their premium boilermakers.

If you're going to give it go, however you should do it right – don't slam it down, but rather sip and savour. A good pairing is essential too – so here's a few suggestions to get you going:

Vale/Drk & Oban

Vale/Drk is an 'American dark lager' produced by then McLaren Vale Beer Company. Displaying plenty of coffee, citrus and jaffa notes, Vale/Drk has a generously rich malt palate. The mood is lightened by this brew's balancing bitterness.

Try your Vale/Drk with a drier style spirit – Oban 14 year old single malt Scotch, offers orange peel, fruits and salted caramel with a strong dry finish. Oban's lick of peat smoke and maritime quality accent the sweeter notes in the beer. Unwind from your day with these two and you won't be disappointed.

White Rabbit White Ale & Jose Cuervo Platino

If you're wanting to try a lighter, perhaps more summery take on a boilermaker then this is a good bet. White Rabbit White Ale is brewed in Healesville, Victoria, from wheat and a carefully selected strain of Belgian brewing yeast in open fermenters. Clean orange and lemon citrus notes, coriander and slightly peppery juniper are refreshing when combined with a delicate use of bittering hops.

This brew really comes alive when paired with a quality 100 per cent agave tequila like Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Platino. Fruity, herbaceous and peppery, this tequila has a crystalline purity that works perfectly with this lighter style brew to create a drinking experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Alpha Queen & Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Alpha Queen 'Highly Hopped Ale' by the Boatrocker Brewing Company is an American style pale ale bursting with flavour. True to its style there's buckets of citrusy, floral and resinous hop character balanced by full bodied malt. It's a beautiful beast of a brew that can stand up to anything you want to throw at it.

Well I recommend that you throw a dram of Laphroaig's double matured Quarter Cask single malt Scotch whisky at it. It's initial velvety sweetness soon transforms into a firm fist of peat smoke, school nurse's red paint and sea spray. It's a hell of a paring this one – but definitely something to end your night on.

Are you a fan of the 'boilermaker', and if so, what's your favourite combo?

24 comments so far

  • Lagavulan and a Porter.

    Weird Beard
    Date and time
    June 15, 2012, 11:37AM
    • Not sure why all the fancy adjectives are needed to describe alcohol.
      Consuming it will increase your chances of getting various forms of cancer -- but you can more than double your chances if you smoke a "manly" cigarette or a "smooth and sophisticated" cigar at the same time.

      Professor Rosseforp
      Date and time
      June 15, 2012, 12:14PM
      • thanks for warning me prof. as I was going to start drinking boilermakers instead of water

        boo hoo
        nanny state
        Date and time
        June 15, 2012, 1:14PM
      • Professor, the preservation of life for life's sake means nothing if you ignore the bounty of lifes pleasures along the way.

        I can indeed assure you that a shot of Laphroaig in a big glass of Squire's Amber Ale after a soul destroying day in the office is nothing short of heavenly.

        Date and time
        June 15, 2012, 1:28PM
      • The way I do this is a 30 year old single-malt with a cuban cigar and a Resch's with a winnie blue all at the same time. It's beautiful. I also do this while watching A Current Affair and reading Keats.

        Date and time
        June 15, 2012, 2:52PM
    • In France this technique was popular in the type of boozer known as l'assomoir, which is also the title of Emile Zola's famous novel of the 1860s. Read, to see exactly where shots of liquor mixed with beer gets you in the long run. Rough translation is 'the knock out place.' How did boilermakering become middle class? No wonder western civilisation is in decline.

      Date and time
      June 15, 2012, 12:51PM
      • Murphys and a Jameson 18YO, there's an idea.

        Date and time
        June 15, 2012, 2:19PM
        • Not sure about about Melbourne, but I think RSA rules in Sydney don't allow you to buy a beer with a spirits chaser, which is essentially what this is. I could be wrong though.

          Date and time
          June 15, 2012, 2:29PM
          • singlemalt how very wrong you are....RSA states that the most a cocktail can have is 60ml(2 ounces) of liquor, or two standard drinks to a drink, 1 beer + 1 shot = 2 standard drinks...although it is quite legal to ask for a triple, and be served as such at a a bartender will serve you the double of your choice....and a shot of your choice on the side...which then you are then obligated to add to your drink...making it a triple...this is a fact whilst not well known, and is perfectly legal under the RSA laws, as i as the bartender have not done anything illegal in my responsible service of alcohol...

            syd tarbender
            sydney city
            Date and time
            June 17, 2012, 4:54PM
        • tooheys new and a JB

          con b
          Date and time
          June 15, 2012, 2:59PM

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