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Pint/Nips of the Caribbean

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Today we’re gonna be specialising and focusing on local produce!

When I set out to write this particular blog post, my mission statement was clear, I was gonna highlight some of the wonderful things going on in our local brewing and distilling scene, and I knew I had a great place to start.

This was always to be a Beer and Whisky pairing in my mind, for my inaugural blog post I felt I should play to my strengths, which are beer and whisky as it stands, and even with a veritable arsenal of local produce to pull from, there was only one beer I truly wanted to use as a foundation for this post: Imperial Cafe Racer (8.5%ABV) from local captains of industry, Fierce Beer Co. This is the bigger, harder brother of their incredible porter Cafe Racer, and a recent reissue, so whilst this pairing leans on Imperial Cafe Racer as it’s crux, the same results can still be achieved with the ordinary Cafe Racer.

Cafe Racer is a special kind of beast, the Imperial version even more so, it features very distinct chocolate and vanilla flavours both on the nose and the palate, with mellow coffee notes on the finish, the Imperial in particular has a delightfully viscous mouthfeel. But whilst all flavours are very present in the mix, they all remain very individual and no flavour treads on the toes of any of the others, a true marvel of brewing prowess! I knew this would be a challenge to pair with, but I had 4 clear-cut contenders in mind for the pairing. After several days of deliberation I had finally made my decision…

The top seed in the bracket ended up being the delightful Balvenie 14 year old Carribean Cask (43%ABV), a very popular dram in the bar and one we have stocked in perpetuum, I quickly realised that the inherent vanilla notes present across the majority of the Balvenie range coupled with the demerara sweetness of a whisky finished in a rum cask would pair incredibly well with the flavours of Cafe Racer. And boy, was I pleasantly reassured to find that not only were my predictions accurate, but perfectly matched, the sweetness of both beverages rebounding against each other in a delightfully complex and sweet dance of tastes. Where the beer is robust with it’s coffee and chocolate flavours, the Balvenie fills the gaps with caramel and toffee sweetness on the palate.

In summation, I originally feared I’d be setting myself up for a sweetness overload and would quickly become sickened of the combination, but the amalgamated finish of both beer and whisky left me with a beautiful taste in my mouth that left me wanting more with every sip. This is a pairing I would thoroughly recommend to any fan of the darker, sweeter things in life!