Boilermakers, but not as you know them

You know it’s a great day when our distillers, many of who are ex-beer brewers, borrow some barrels from their buds at Brick Lane to make some magic in our Port Melbourne distillery. The result? A one-of-a-kind, single malt whisky honouring the craft of brewing and distilling: Starward Stout Cask. It’s no wonder beer and whisky work so well together, after all, the boilermaker – a simple cocktail of shot of whisky served alongside a glass of beer – has been kicking around since the 19th century, so it’s a partnership that’s stood the test of time.  

In honour of our new Stout Cask, and beer and whisky coming together in one hell of a beautiful synergy, we thought we’d share our favourite boilermaker pairings (i.e. the whisky and beer combinations that blow our minds). But we’re not stopping there – we do things a little differently at Starward and want these boilermakers to really slap, so we’re pairing our favourite foods to enjoy alongside each one to really tantalise your tastebuds.

A bit more on the boilermaker
Whisky and beer make a nice couple because of their similar ingredient lists. Many believe the name ‘boilermaker’ comes from its popularity among literal boilermakers back in the day. They were tradesmen who fabricated iron boilers for steamships and steam locomotives – and loved asking for a beer and a shot of whisky at their local when they knocked off work. We don’t blame them! When it comes to how to enjoy a boilermaker, you can choose just about any beer and whisky combo, and we’ve suggested a few below.

Meet your match

1. A decadently boozy delight for someone who loves the drama

This first boilermaker is for the person who isn’t afraid of a little decadence and a lot of drama. You opt for big, bold flavours and don’t shy away from food that packs a punch. You always (always) insist on ordering dessert, and the richer the better.

The boilermaker: Starward Stout Cask with an imperial barrel aged stout – ooft, sign us up for this deliciously decadent duo! If offers great parallels with rich malt roasty character and lovely boozy mouthfeel – this is decadence done very well.

The snack: The rich creaminess of a stout beer alongside the notes of chocolate malt biscuits, banana ice cream and decadent cacao is almost a dessert in itself (almost). If you’re looking for ways to make this boilermaker really sing, try pairing it with rich seafood, salty ham, rich stews or anything smoked or grilled. On the sweet side, you could try a self-saucing chocolate pudding or tart – ideally you want the beer to be sweeter than the dish.  Generally speaking, stout is very food friendly – so don’t be afraid to step outside the box.

Boilermaker from Starward with Stout Cask Whisky
2. A little sweet, a little savoury – and for someone who likes balance

Is there anything better than when sweet and savoury just work? It’s a beautiful thing. This is the boilermaker for you if you like a little from column A, a little from column B – and love a cheese board. 

Stout Cask whisky from Starward with chocolate dessert

The boilermaker: Try pairing a shot of Starward Two-Fold and your favourite pilsner. We’re all about sipping a little whisky and then a mouth full of beer and so on. As you do this you’ll notice the beer cut through the whisky and vice-versa. It’s a friendly unison of the two beverages and the perfect balance of herbal dry lager and fruit vanilla bright whisky.

The snack: If this boilermaker is on the menu and you’re feeling a little peckish, you’ve got plenty of foods that will complement it nicely. Salads or seafood are a winner, and a selection of cheeses is even better. Opt for mild varieties like a French Camembert, Havarti or Opus 42. Sounds like a great excuse to serve a cheese board, if you ask us.

3.  Robust and fruity, and for someone who likes a flavour party in their mouth

Another bold boilermaker, this time with a hop-forward beer like an IPA. Consider trying this at your local if you’re not afraid of a little intensity and a good time. Typically a fruity IPA is often brewed with a variety of hops to create an intense flavour profile – these hops can range from citrusy, tropical and piney to floral and herbal.

The boilermaker: An IPA with intense, hoppy aromas deserves an equally vibrant partner: Starward Fortis. The fruitiness of the IPA complements Fortis’ robust vibe – plus the red berries, toasted malt and a juicy long finish are something special. We only age Fortis in American Oak barrels to give it a richer taste and toasty oak and vanilla character.

The snack:
If you want to contrast the fruitiness of this boilermaker try fried chicken, tacos of your choice (we vote pork) or spicy Indian curries. Alternatively, you could match the sweetness with a salad that has a fruity dressing or a big slice of cherry pie.

Salad serving at a table with whisky drinks

4. A signature single malt for someone who wants to spice things up

There’s a little something for everyone in this next drink: it’s got a moment for a full-bodied beer alongside juicy fruit and soft spice. We already know Starward Nova goes exceptionally well with food – so when you add hoppy beer to the equation everything just works. 

    The boilermaker: Starward Nova, our signature single malt, with its juicy red fruit and soft oak spice, needs a more full-bodied beer to star alongside. Enjoy it with a glass of your favourite pale ale (Australian, Indian or otherwise) – the little sips of Nova in between the beer will highlight the malt body and spicy hop character alongside the whisky.

    The snack: The toughest decision you’ll make with this boilermaker is whether you order Mexican or Italian – the good news is both go well! Spices like cumin and hot jalapeño peppers in Mexican are enhanced by the flavourful hops. While the sweetness of tomato sauce and the saltiness of cheese on a pizza will act as a palate cleanser between bites and enhance the flavour of the toppings, overall. 

    Italian food at a table with red and white table cloth from Starward whisky

    5. For someone who loves a tropical island holiday… in Germany

    Yes, you read that right. This boilermaker marries various tropical elements that all work in unison to create a very pleasant drink. It’s a great choice if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth but want a refreshing finish.

    The boilermaker: Starward Solera, with its jammy fruits and lingering dry finish, is paired best with a Hefeweizen: a beer that literally translates to “yeastwheat” in English. The beer’s classic banana, clove, bubblegum and soft wheat character perfectly complement the bright tropical fruit and rounded mouthfeel of Solera.  

      The snack: Light and flavoursome cheeses like gruyere and chèvre will not disappoint. This boilermaker could also come out at your next BBQ as it complements sausages and sweet or spicy ribs nicely. 

      Cheese at a table with whisky cocktails and nibbles