Remember these couple of Instagrams from a few weeks ago?
This was an exciting project from an idea that started to take shape just before Hardywood’s Bourbon Cru release. The idea seemed simple; transform Bourbon Cru to taste like a Manhattan. No big deal right? Just add some vermouth and bitters then call it day? Too easy. Early on, I consulted John Maher, now of Rogue Gentlemen, on how to get the vermouth flavors without actually adding vermouth. He was able to point me towards using red wine, oranges and a combination of spices but we were too late. 2013 Bourbon Cru was already packaged making it too late to do any sort of cask.
Needless to say, the gang at Hardywood were thrilled with the idea behind this pin. So off to work I went again. This time though I consulted the man who’s bar I have dined at on numerous occasions — Mattias Hagglund of Heritage. One email from Mattias sent me on a whirlwind idea of making sweet vermouth from scratch just to use for this cask. This was looking to get very expensive. Thankfully, Mattias suggested using Cardamaro, a wine based digestif, otherwise we might have missed our chance. Luckily, I had just bought some blood oranges. Last thing I needed was something to absorb the flavors of the amaro — wood and some dried fruit. But what kind of wood? Oak would have been an obvious choice but I figured it would be use something different than what the beer was aged in. The wood and dried fruit would end up being the same flavor, cherry! Most of the dried cherries in stores are of the tart variety, a flavor I did not want added. Luckily, Trader Joe’s carried the dark sweet cherries I was looking for. Once selected, I combined the ingredients in a jar then poured in the Cardamaro and letting the ingredients soak for about a week until the cherries were noticeable plump. After that, it was off to Hardywood for addition to a pin.
That was a long explanation to tell you how this idea came about. Here is all you need to remember. This pin will be tapped Friday April 18th at 5:30pm at Heritage. Come join me and taste the fruit of our labor.
Oh and this not the only idea I have for Hardywood cask beer. The only clue will give you is a drink from Heritage’s menu — Bramble!
Head over to the Facebook event for more details and updates. This will be a nice lead in to Saturday’s Bourbon Cru release.
1627 W Main St
Richmond, VA 23220
Who knows maybe I will get the chance to make some cask beers with other breweries in town in the future.