Okay, I confess that this is a bit left field.
However, this one’s a bit different. One of my local breweries – Wibblers – has recently diversified into making Cider (which my son, a cider drinker, declares to be delicious) and its own spirit, distilled from ‘Apprentice’ – its best selling beer.
‘Journeyman’ is distilled from the same malted Barley and Hops that they use to brew ‘Apprentice’ – a Journeyman being somebody midway through their training from Apprentice to Master Craftsman. Do you see what they did there?
It’s distilled five times from the aforementioned ‘Apprentice’ ale, then oak aged and then given a final hint of the Polish Marynka hops that give ‘Apprentice’ its distinctive and popular flavour.
While I’m not a great spirit drinker, I bought a bottle of ‘Journeyman’ (one of only seventy six hand-numbered 50cl bottles) to try on behalf of The Brewclub while I was stocking up at the Wibbler’s pre-Christmas open day. It’s a dirty job…
It pours a honey gold colour with a rich oaky nose, that nose promises a true ‘spiritual’ experience.
And the flavour doesn’t disappoint, it’s not peaty or smokey like a fine malt Whisky (sorry I can’t avoid the comparison); rather it has a slightly oaky flavour, with discreet hints of vanilla and honey, and then that subtle Marynka flourish.
This is a very smooth, and very clever, spirit, flavour-wise it’s verging towards a Brandy.
The good people at Wibblers are considering taking the next step and ageing ‘Journeyman’ for a full three years, which would allow it to classified as a whiskey. In the meantime, the barley base would line it up alongside whiskey rather than brandy or rum in a line up of ‘usual suspects’, but I Rums in my cabinet that have fooled Brandy drinkers in blind tastings.
So, Journeyman is something different, and an interesting departure for a local business.
I think I might leave a glass out for Santa this year. I think he’d appreciate it.
In the meantime, Season’s Greetings to all Brewclub readers, from all the Brewclub contributors.