Left to right: Ethan Elston, Bill Davidson, Mike Alessandro, Phil Mackay. Missing: Nick Waitt, Ed Driscoll
The Road Warriors of Harpoon have made quite a name for themselves in our Boston brewhouse.
It all started in Café 306, our employee owner lounge, where our Boston-area truck drivers would cap off their delivery routes with a pint or two from the taps. The end of their work days (normally around noon) coincided with our brewers’ lunch breaks. The two groups often got to talking and it was from those conversations that many a great Harpoon recipe was born.
The first of the Road Crew’s beers to get packaged was Black Forest, an Imperial Chocolate Cherry Porter, in the Spring of 2014. Up next, after a commanding victory in our 2015 employee/owner homebrew competition “The Owner’s Cup,” was Thunder Foam, a Porter brewed with cacao nibs, ancho chiles, and fresh poblano peppers. It was Black Forest that really proved their brewing chops, but It was Thunder Foam that cemented them as a force in the brewhouse. It was after Thunder Foam also when they first earned their collective calling card: The Road Warriors.
The Road Warriors were back at it again for our 2017 Owner’s Cup, this time drawing some inspiration from our long-time Irish drinking buddies, Jameson. After a Jameson-and-Harpoon-fueled night out in South Boston (a common occurrence for Harpoon employee owners) their recipe was set: an Irish Cream inspired-stout aged in Jameson barrels. Barrel-aging seemed like an extravagance for a 5 gallon homebrew batch, so instead they soaked some oak chips in Jameson Irish Whiskey and added them straight into the carboy after a few days of fermentation. Their stout was the overwhelming winner at the Owner’s Cup and we immediately set out to scale up the recipe from a 5 gallon homebrew to our full production system. In order to do that though, we needed to call our friends at Jameson and get a hold of some barrels.
Irish Cream Stout combines two classic Irish staples: the clean, pleasant roast of a Dry Irish Stout, and the sweet, comforting warmth of Jameson Irish Whiskey. The beer incorporates 9 different specialty malts, giving it layer after layer of malt-forward character with some distinct notes of mocha, dark fruit, sweeter caramel, and a light rye-like spice. After 3 months in Jameson barrels, it developed its own whiskey-like character, with subtle notes of toffee, vanilla, and a light hint of char.
While Irish Cream Stout tastes wonderful on its own, we think its best enjoyed besides a nice glass of Jameson (The Stout Edition Caskmates makes a particularly perfect pairing) and The Road Warriors agree. Cheers to their latest creation and a big thanks to our friends at Jameson for helping make it a reality. Sláinte!