Kindred Spirits: Innis & Gunn Revive a Classic in Canada

Innis and Gunn
photo credit: @innisandgunnca

Some things are just meant to be together. Wine and cheese. Milk and cookies. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. The Scots and the Irish? Maybe not on the surface but these two cultures share more than a common Gaelic ancestry. They share a passion for malted beverages. The Scots and the Irish are as closely related as whisky and beer, and they seem to do both of those quite well.

Malt Cousins

Innis & Gunn is a Scottish craft brewery that first started brewing in 2003 and is now found in over thirty five countries around the world, also becoming the number one most imported craft beer in Canada. It was only in 2016 however, after a crowdfunding effort that surpassed everyone’s expectations that Innis & Gunn finally had a dedicated brewery of their own.

Tullamore DEW is a classic Irish whisky which has been in production since the early 1800’s and named for the general manager and later owner of the distillery, Daniel E. Williams. A well recognized brand and taste in its own right it was only fitting that these two Kindred Spirits found each other.

There is even a wonderful video featuring Rick Mcmurray of the Irish band Ash and Scott Hutchinson (who, sadly, is no longer with us) of the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit performing the traditional Scottish tune Go Lassie GO, highlighting the powerful musical connection of the Irish and the Scots.

Now to the Beer…

Kindred Spirits is a stout that has been aged in oak barrels that were originally used to age Tullamore Dew. On first taste I get some classic stout characteristics – coffee and dark chocolate. This is followed by a velvety rush of vanilla, which is a flavour prevalent in both stout beer and Irish whisky, and this is what makes this combination so genius. The vanilla acts as a segue to the robust oak finish, which is subtle enough that I didn’t lose the original coffee and chocolate notes. It’s worth noting that I didn’t experience a lasting bitterness afterwards either.

The Verdict

This beer is yet another amazing example of a deep and long running bond between two peoples. Go get this beer while you can! And don’t feel bad when you want to order this stout over a Guinness this St. Patricks day because it won’t be around forever.

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Stephen Nelson
Stephen Nelson is a hospitality professional with over 10 years of experience. He is a Cicerone certified educator, and knows everything there is to know about craft beer. As a musician and foodie, Stephen is an all around creative person and has experienced food and culture from destinations all over the world.