Its summer, damn finally, and with is comes weekend after weekend of guys standing around the braai. Now, usually these discussions are had with an ice-cold beer in hand, but more and more, guys are starting to look for something different, and whisky comes to mind. But the pull towards beer is strong within the South African man so its going to take a lot to replace the cold Castle or Amstel – perhaps, until now – thanks to a great partnership between Highland Park whisky and Harviestoun – introducing the Harviestoun range of whisky-barrel-aged beer.
So, what’s it all about? Surprisingly beer and whisky have a lot in common. Actually, for the most part, whisky and beer share almost exactly the same process in creation, but the outcome of additional processes results in the fine whiskies we have today. The guys and girls at Harviestoun recognised that the Highland Park casks produce some of the best whisky’s in the world (actually, Highland Park 18 has won the title of best whisky in the world a number of times), so after the whisky casks are retired, Harviestoun takes them over and ages their craft beer in these casks, resulting in a range of very special beers that have distinct notes of whisky.
And what about the beer? Well, there are quite a few ranges within their stable, particularly the Core range, the Ola Dubh range, the Guest Cask range, and the Limited Editions.
The Ola Dubh (pronounced ‘ola-doo’ and Gaelic for ‘black oil’) was first created back in 2007, and it was the first ale to be matured in whisky barrels, with traceable casks and numbered bottles. To make the Ola Dubh 12, they take their Old Engine Oil (from their Core range (just sup’ed up to 10.5%), and then aged in the Highland Park 12 Year Old single malt whisky cask for up to 6 months.
Lucky enough, a beer and whisky loving guy has brought into some of the beers, specifically within the Ola Dubh range to South Africa, and a few of us were treated to a very special dual whisky and beer tasting at The Maslow Hotel. Talks about a great evening of beer, whisky and food – its certainly is worth a taste.
Availability and cost?
Well, its available at most good liquor retailers – but for a sure bet, contact Norman Goodfellows. They have the Harviestoun Bitter & twisted at R39,50 for 330ml, the Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18 at R104,oo for 330ml, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil at R43,5o for 330ml, and the Harviestoun Orach Slie at R11o,oo for 330ml.