Lyon’s Liqueurs: Beersky
A while ago, Lyon Distilling, a rum maker on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was kind enough to provide us with samples of most of their products. We had such a good time tasting, experimenting with, and writing about their excellent and interesting rums that we had to leave their liqueurs for another time. To our great delight, we finally had the chance to return to Lyon and its liqueurs this week.
It’s perhaps not quite right to call today’s subject a liqueur. Beersky is a whiskey distilled from a beer mash, similar to Wigle Whiskey’s series of experiments on the idea of whiskey as beer distilled (here, here, and here). They call this a one-time only experiment, and it was done (as all Lyon does) in a very small batch; so once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. I think one-and-done is exactly the right decision here. I’m extremely glad that there are distillers like Lyon and Wigle who are willing to make creative choices like this. I’m glad I had a chance to try it. I even liked it. But I have to confess that I couldn’t imagine feeling the need to permanently stock my bar with a bottle of this unique spirit. Lyon, I hope you keep making weird stuff like this, and I hope you keep giving us the chance to taste it.
Beersky is based on a Hefeweizer, and aged in Jack Daniels barrels. That’s not what we would have guessed upon tasting it. It’s extremely hoppy, like the love child of a rye and an IPA. It’s also quite strong, at 100 proof. It’s a strange, but not actually unpleasant, experience to taste something with exactly the flavors of a modern American beer, but flat, and with about 10 times the alcohol content. It took a bit of mind-bending to figure out how to mix it.
We tried a martini, and it just felt like someone had spilled some beer in our drink. Our next attempt was an old fashioned, and that was much more successful, with a vibrant, bitter flavor. We used a brown sugar simple syrup and grapefruit bitters, if you want to try that one. Our favorite, though, was a variation on the Yellow Parrot. The Yellow Parrot is a rare liqueurs-only drink, usually involving equal parts yellow Chartreuse, apricot brandy, and anise liqueur. We had a beefed-up dose of Beersky take the place of Chartreuse, and swapped out apricot brandy for the slightly sweeter and richer pear.
The Hoppy Parrot Cocktail Recipe
- 1 1/2 oz Beersky
- 3/4 oz pear brandy
- 3/4 oz anise liqueur
- Shake all of the ingredients with ice.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.