When I was growing up ale and whisky seemed strictly the denizen of ‘auld men’s pubs’ where a hauf and a hauf pint was standard fare. However times and perceptions change and both are now recognised by a far wider audience. And embracing that are two producers I’m pretty fond of; Glenfarclas and Harviestoun. One from the whisky hotbed of Speyside and the other from Alva, steeped in brewing tradition. They’ve teamed up to produce Orach Slie ale aged in Glenfarclas casks.
It sounds like a perfect marriage, Harviestoun produce full bodied ales such as Bitter & Twisted and one of my particular favourites in Schiehallion. And Orach Slie is certainly up there being a more hoppy version of that craft lager. With a deep barley amber colour and a welcoming malty sweet nose, the palate is full bodied and just keeps growing as you get malt. A backbone of bitterness develops and is finished with a long creamy milk chocolatey sweetness before a final little hoppy note and a little bitter malt. I had a feeling this would be a good foil for seafood and wasn’t wrong. It paired with crab bringing out the briny sea flavour and belies it’s strength in doing so.
As for the whisky that lends it’s casks after ten long years? Glenfarclas is very much a classic Speyside style. A deep amber colour with lots of tobacco box wood on the nose alongside sherry sweetness. The palate has loads of wood with a vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg spice alongside a sweet sherry note and a wonderful honey depth. The finish is sweet and with that delicious sherry and a lingering spice. Glenfarclas 10 is smooth beyond its years and the perfect accompaniment to a steak for those who like a dram with dinner.
I think Innis and Gunn blazed a trail with this type of partnership of whisky and beer and this relationship is another welcome addition to those beers which are #caskaged in whisky.