Beer and whisky are, obviously, intrinsically connected, as whisky is distilled beer (distilled ale, technically, but whatever). One of the new trends is aging beer in whisky barrels (like the Big Peat Cask Matured Ale) and finishing whisky in casks which held beer (like the Jameson Caskmates), and I expect we’ll see more and more of this happening, as evidenced just the other week with the announcement of Glenfiddich IPA, bringing these experiments further into the mainstream.
The Dictator, however, took another route altogether. They have infused their 4.7% ABV Irish Red, with Laphroaig 10 single malt bringing it up to 6.9% and then letting it do its thing in the beer bottle. This is a special edition in honor of the Beers 2016 festival starting tomorrow in Tel Aviv.
Who are the dictators? A group of Israeli beer (and whisky) enthusiasts Yotam Baras, Tomer Goren and Nir Gilat (If two of those names ring a bell, you’ve obviously been reading this blog for a while). The Dictator theme was actually chosen democratically by them and while the beer is made in the south of Israel, it doesn’t have a regional/geographical connection – unlike many of the beers made in Israel. I will say that while I’m not a serious beer drinker in any way, Israel has quite the craft brewing scene here, of which the Dictator is a good example.
Of the three standard editions, the 3.8% Bitter (English style, it’s not actually bitter at all), the 4.7% Irish Red and the 5.5% Pale Ale, I liked the Pale Ale the best. This is not surprising, given my liking of bitter flavors. It was said in the launching event that the Bitter is aimed at the midday drinker, enjoying a relatively low ABV beer with lunch, which is something Israelis have not yet adopted.
So as I said, the Laphroaig Irish Red is a high octane beer, clocking in at 6.9% ABV, and you just have to love the label, as it features a dictatorized Chef Ofer Ben-Or (with a Glencairn, and his distillery visiting sheep mascot, Malty) on the label. Ofer is a well known figure within the whiskyfabric and is one of Israel’s premiere whisky collectors. You’ll find him Instagram at @singlemaltchef.
You can tell just how much these guys are by a short video they made, with a beer pouring never sounding better:
Dictator Laphroaig Beer (6.9% ABV)
Appearance: Dark amber, clear.
Nose: Starts off with a bit of salt, some kippers, malt, pomelo rind and some green fruit.
Palate: Smoky and malty, with a peated mash, hints of lemon, beef steak, and a surprising cantaloupe and cranberries.
Linger: Grapefruit, coffee, long bitter linger, with hint of smoke. After a while a malty sweetness.
Personally, I think the Laphroaig would have been perfect with the Pale Ale (which I tried on my own), but the combination with the Irish works nicely too. There’s a depth of flavor there that is quite enticing. Well made indeed.