Innis & Gunn releases beer devised by bartender

innis Smokin' GunnBrewer Innis & Gunn has released its first smoked beer, developed in collaboration with the head bartender of The Hind’s Head in Bray.

David Ashton-Hyde came up with the idea for the limited edition Smokin’ Gunn in the inaugural Innis & Gunn Bartender’s Choice competition last year.

Beating 300 entrants from the UK, Sweden and Canada, David’s concept was a well-balanced, full-bodied beer that would serve as the perfect after-dinner drink.

Smokin’ Gunn, with an ABV of 7.4%, is made in the style of a Bamberg Rauchbier. German Spring variety malts are smoked over beech wood to give a light charcoal character to the beer.

It is then matured – in trademark Innis & Gunn style – in ex-bourbon casks for a big vanilla hit before being finished with maple syrup for a toasty sweetness. It comes in 330ml bottles.

David, who has worked at chef Heston Blumenthal’s Berkshire pub for three years, was inspired by his love of Canadian and American whiskies, and a weakness for pancakes and maple syrup.

He said: “My hope with the recipe was to create a beer that would encompass both savoury and sweet elements, so, while other beers play towards being paired with food, this is a beer that is designed to be brought out at the right stage in a meal and enjoyed in its own right.

“The soured mash and the sweet and smoky tones from the maple and bourbon offset one another really well. The charcoal and caramel hints of bourbon barrels married with the dry and fresh minty tones of the northern brewer hop make for a really powerful flavour experience.”

David’s recipe wowed the judges: Dougal Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, beer writer Ben McFarland, and Emma Anderssen, editor of Swedish drinks magazine Allt om Whisky.

Commenting on the challenges of bringing together such strong flavours, Dougal said: “David’s idea had the creative flair we were looking for but the test for us was to balance the beer’s big, robust flavours so that no single ingredient was allowed to dominate.

“If you spend time with this one, and give it a chance to open up, you’ll be able to notice the different layers unfolding and the flavours changing as it settles.

“Drinking Smokin’ Gunn from a brandy balloon glass is the best way to enjoy this beer.”

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