Beavertown & Jameson collaboration
When you’re invited by Logan Plant of Beavertown for an an evening of meat, beers, meat, whiskey and more meat, a roaring ‘hell yes’ is what should come out of your mouth. So on a perfectly ordinary Wednesday I headed off to Duke’s Brew & Que in Haggerston. The event was to celebrate their latest creation, a collaborative beer they’d brewed with Irish whiskey maker Jameson.
When I arrived the bar was already buzzing with friends, bloggers and brewery crew, ready to enjoy the spoils of the evening. The night began with sampling some incredibly fresh Beavertown brews. Gamma Ray is still a benchmark of deliciousness. It cuts through the fog of new wave pale ales from a wealth of breweries that taste just ok. It was also great to try their new Neck Oil, which is their former Best Bitter transformed into a lower alcohol hop punch of a Pale Ale. I remember Logan calling this brew their new ‘gateway beer’. My gateway was a Kernel Pale Ale, back in the day, and I’m happy to report that this is just as good.
As we sat down at our tables Logan told the story of how the collaboration with Jameson came about. In the early days of brewing at Duke’s he had a random encounter with a Jameson rep. His instinct was to quickly ask if the whiskey giant could spare a couple of barrels that he could age some beer in. After some back and forth he was invited to choose the barrels with Jameson’s Master Cooper Ger. The choice landed on some 18 year old reserve barrels. Beavertown then did what they do best – they shoved a huge imperial stout in there, naming the beer Ger’onimo, after the man who helped them pick out the receptacles of deliciousness.
Ger was there on the night to chat about the barrels. He’d brought some whiskey drenched staves from some barrels for everyone to have a sniff of, like the booze hounds we are. Logan’s dad even liked what he smelled enough to walk out of there with one of the staves under his arm. Ger was obviously proud of being involved with the project, saying the collaborative beer had replaced whiskey in his household for a bit. I even saw him at the bar asking the barman ‘is it ok to order another Ger’onimo?’. When your namesake beer tastes great, why would you order anything else.
The marketing team at Jameson had also been cranking the PR machine. The story of one of London’s hippest breweries doing a collaboration with them was not to be neglected. They’ve made a nice film about the whole thing, and obviously ponied up for the evenings festivities as well. It would be a little short sighted not to mention the slightly funny mix of huge old-school company (Jameson) and small free-spirit upstart (Beavertown), but the collaboration didn’t feel too contrived at all. In the end it works in favour of both companies, each of them piggybacking each others credentials.
The main part of the evening consisted of a decadent and burly three course meal of Dukes signature smoked meat, paired with both Beavertown beer and Jameson whiskey. The starter was in the shape of a pulled pork slider and reminded me of summer nights going down to the Pitt Cue van on the Southbank, the place all pulled pork should forever be judged against. Duke’s did well.
The main course was of a giant beef rib. It was an endurance test of delicious meat. The Ger’onimo was the accompanying beverage. Huge stout, huge rib, you can see what they did there. In Logan’s own words the stout has some beautiful savoury notes, though he also confessed that the brew was still about 2 months off being the rounded beer it should be. But hell, it was tasty even if it wasn’t perfect. The only duff note in the evening was the normal Jameson served with the desert. Compared to a shot of the smooth 18 year reserve it was just harsh and nasty firewater.
The evening naturally slowed down, with some having had their fill and waddling off into the night, while the more hardcore contingent kept drinking. The whole night had an air of celebration about It, something I think Beavertown as a brewery, and a general group of people, do really well. I babbled at Logan that I thought Beavertown were perfectly primed for their planned growth. He may or may not have agreed, I can’t remember. If anything, this night of great beers just confirmed it for me.