“Beard feedback!” somebody shouted, as the microphone squealed plaintively. Sam Richardson, head brewer at Other Half Brewing, smiled sheepishly and brushed his (considerably-sized) protrusion of facial hair out of the way. Indeed, the microphone quieted immediately, inspiring a chorus of giggles from the small crowd. It was only five minutes into last night’s Jameson’s Craft Brewers panel, but everybody was already feeling pretty laid back — most likely due to the generous distribution of samples from a highly limited-edition IPA produced collaboratively between Jameson and the Brooklyn-based KelSo brewery. This special brew was the star of the show, the reason we were all gathered in this room, and everybody (including the panelists) had a plastic cup in hand.
Click through for more craft beer and barrel aging talk after the jump:
During the panel, Jameson’s master of whiskey science, Dave Quinn, charmed audience members with tales from his 30-year-history of aging whiskey. Meanwhile, Ger Buckley — a 5th generation Jameson cooper — lovingly described the difference between Spanish and American oak in flavoring whiskey. An enthusiastic request for a round of shots between panelists and attendees was laughed at, then granted. Quinn’s delivery of an impromptu and impassioned speech about the importance of sustainable oak production was greeted by a round of applause.
Happily, the flow of IPA samples remained steady throughout. Aged in 10 Jameson whiskey barrels brought over from Ireland, the resulting beer was a finely balanced mix of floral top notes with the telltale undertone of smokey Jameson whiskey. It was complex, bright, and — given the limited nature of production — truly one-of-a-kind.
Want to try? Northside Festival premium and music badge holders (and all Northside musicians) can sample the limited-edition IPA in the VIP section of McCarren Park throughout the day.