Love craft beer, but also have a soft spot for a good whisky? Does the idea of drinking them together excite or intrigue you? If so, we've found your next drinking destination.
The cocktail experts behind Eau de Vie have recently opened Boliermaker House on Lonsdale Street. For the uninitiated, a boilermaker is an American beer cocktail consisting of a shot of whisky and a beer chaser. There are a few ways to down this drink, but the most prevalent is to shot your whisky and then sip the beer. At Boilermaker House they recommend going in that order, but you certainly don't have to shot your whisky in haste. In fact, you're encouraged to take your time, especially with the complimentary food bites that come with your boilermaker to eat post-whisky and pre-beer.
On the surface, boilermakers may look like an exceptionally efficient way to get drunk, fast. And while this may be the purpose for some drinkers, it certainly is not the aim for the Boilermaker House. The idea is that, when the two are consumed together, new flavours are created that you wouldn't find from sipping just one.
We decided to try two different boilermakers: one light and bright, the other dark and sexy. The Speyside Rambler ($23) consists of a shot of Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak followed by a Red Hill Pilsner, with a skewer of apple and salted caramel for between drinks. It's described as 'a juicy apricot on a summers day', and the flavours certainly made us pine for warmer weather. This was a very drinkable combination, and a bound to be a crowd pleaser for those new to the boilermaker game. The Black Forest ($24) was, as the name suggests, a lot darker, with a shot of Aberlour 16 year old and a dark and delicious Newstead 21'7" Porter to follow. The name certainly fits the bill with this one, and the dark chocolate and date food addition enhanced the black fruit flavours that the combination created.
Having something to nosh on while downing these drinks is certainly wise, if not necessary. Boilermaker House has already made a bit of a name for itself for its excellent selection of cured meats and cheeses from all over the globe, so we selected the small ploughman's platter, which, at $53, is ideal for 2-3 people. The beautiful serrano, cacciatore salami, and bresaola cuts were paired perfectly with 1,000 day gouda, chicken pâté, sweet quince and picked vegetables. There are more substantial meals on offer for those feeling more peckish, but this little nook tends to lend itself to casual conversation and grazing.
In fact, we found ourselves so comfortable in our golden-lit booth we happily whiled away a few hours and another beer. The service was helpful and unobtrusive, offering suggestions when we were a bit lost and left us to our own devices once we had settled in. Weeknights are a go if you want somewhere cosy to catch up with friends rather than dealing with the hustle and bustle. The wall of whisky that surrounds their 12 beer taps is quite a sight to behold, showing that there's clearly plenty more to try — and we will be back to do so very shortly.