We pause again for some barrel aged beer. This time it’s a local Brooklyn IPA from KelSo brewery that is aged in Jameson ex-bourbon barrels. This is a monumental release for KelSo to be able to collaborate with a global brand like Jameson. KelSo had been looking for quality oak barrels for years and hadn’t found success. They were extremely lucky to catch the eye of Jameson, a giant in the Irish whiskey industry. I had the opportunity to attend the launch party and speak with Dave: the Jameson Master of Whisky Science. Jameson is quite a conservative company and they haven’t given their barrels to any other brewery until now. They’re very particular about who they want to work with and they wanted to be sure the brewery shared the same culture and values as Jameson.
Dave and Kelly (left to right)
As legend has it, Dave took a liking to Kelly – founder of KelSo brewery – immediately and that played a big part in this deal. Jameson also has deep-seeded history with Brooklyn – it was where US distribution first started for the world famous Irish whiskey brand. But why did Jameson choose KelSo, a small craft brewery, over the more well known Brooklyn Brewery? I’m sure the decision had to do with Jameson’s valuing quality control over profits. Jameson had declined countless requests for their barrels over the years so something had to be special about Kelly and KelSo that caught their attention. The people at Jameson wanted to be sure their barrels were handled with the utmost care and that the resulting product would be worthy of their well recognized brand. As part of the deal Kelly visited Midleton Distillery to hand select ten Jameson barrels that had held whisky for six years or less. He returned to Brooklyn, New York determined to create a delicious beer.
So how is the beer? It’s bursting with vanilla and tropical fruit. It’s also super smooth and less hoppy (zingy) than your typical IPA. They aged the beer for two months in Jameson barrels then transferred the beer to a holding tank. KelSo added some hops to the tank to bring back the floral notes. After an undisclosed amount of time, the beer was eventually bottled/kegged. The result is a unique fusion of classic Jameson flavors with KelSo’s citrusy, bone dry IPA. What are you waiting for? Get your butt to Dirck the Norseman and try this beer while supplies last.
You can taste this limited release beer at Dirck the Norseman this weekend for free! Just swing on by the beautiful new bar in Northside and you’ll get two beer tokens that will entitle you to taste the KelSo/Jameson collaboration beer. Be sure to look out for Dave and Ger from Jameson who will be holding demos throughout the day. Dave is the Master of Whisky Science and Ger is the Master Cooper. Ger is in charge of putting together the high quality oak barrels that are used in whiskey maturation. Both guys are friendly and have charming Irish accents, so seek them out if you visit. While you’re in Northside you can also check out the Northside Festival which is taking place from June 12-19. There will be special films, musical guests and creative speakers at the event.