Recently the fine folks at Jameson Irish Whiskey announced the newest partners in their Drinking Buddies program. As part of their Drinking Buddies collaboration, five American breweries were invited to tour the Jameson distillery in Ireland, and each were sent home with six empty Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels. The barrels would be used to age a unique, limited edition craft beer.
Great Divide Brewing of Denver was one of this year’s Jameson Drinking Buddies participants. Head Brewer Ethan Osborne and Marketing Manager Shannon Berner made the trip from Denver to Ireland, where they toured the Jameson Irish Whiskey distillery to inspire them to create their Drinking Buddies collaboration beer. You can learn all about their trip and their beer creation in this Jameson Drinking Buddies video:
So what do you get when you combine the luck of the Irish with a the wild, wild west of Denver? You get a The Smoothness, a silky, smooth black lager, aged several months in Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels.
We attended the launch party for The Smoothness this week, courtesy of Jameson Irish Whiskey and Great Divide Brewing Co. As you can imagine, it was barrels of fun… pun intended! We enjoyed live music, some delicious food from Moe’s Original BBQ, sweet treats from Sweet Cow Ice Cream (including Jameson ice cream – yum!) and of course there were plenty of incredible Great Divide beers and Jameson Irish Whiskey cocktails.
To be honest, we went into this event a little skeptical. We like whiskey in a well-blended cocktail, but in some of the barrel-aged beers we had in the past the whiskey flavor totally overpowered the beer, and we weren’t big fans. However, Great Divide and Jameson really won us over with The Smoothness. The beer was incredibly well-balanced, with flavors of vanilla and chocolate that blended perfectly with the whiskey. The Jameson flavor was a great compliment to the beer without being overpowering. We would recommend this beer for Jameson lovers for sure, but it’s pretty delicious even if you don’t think whiskey is your thing.
If you’re in the Denver area you can try The Smoothness on tap beginning today at the Great Divide Brewing Co taproom at 22nd and Arapahoe, and at the new Great Divide Barrel Room on Brighton Boulevard. The Great Divide folks only had six Jameson barrels, so this is a limited-edition beer. If you want to try it, get it while it lasts.