A project, over one and a half years in the making, finally came to fruition over this week between Dallas' own Deep Ellum Brewing Company and Jameson Irish Whiskey. The result can only be described in its name, the Local Legend.
Over the last few years, the Jameson distillers were searching across America for like-minded breweries to participate in an alcohol-infused experiment. Their plan was to invite five different breweries to their distillery in Dublin, Ireland and give them each six used Jameson barrels to create a beer of their choosing. The breweries consisted of Angel City (Los Angeles), Captain Lawrence (Elmsford, New York), Greatve Divide (Denver), Hilliard's (Seattle) and Deep Ellum. Breweries were given free reign to create a beer that was representative of Jameson and Ireland, while still adding a bit of local flair to the beer as well. Ideas ranged from a very traditional Irish Red Ale to a Barrel Aged Whiskey Sour Ale.
All of the breweries were hand-selected based on a range of criteria from "kinship to the neighborhood" to a strong passion and reputation for making great craft beer. This is the first time ever that beer has been aged in Jameson barrels, so they wanted to select the best partners possible. Owner John Reardon and the rest of Deep Ellum Brewing were very humbled to be chosen out of a wide range of great breweries throughout Texas that also carried these same impressive characteristics. Reardon also considered it a great honor to be carrying the torch of history for Jameson and everything that they stand for.
The beer that Deep Ellum ended up with was a silky smooth milk stout (as seen as Legendairy Milk Stout in their taproom) brewed with roasted Texas pecans, to give it a bit of a Texas twang. After the beer was brewed, it was then aged in the Jameson whiskey barrels for a few months and then blended to their liking. While the pecans were faint on the palette, the short-term barrel aging gave the beer a slight lingering whiskey finish, which wasn't the overpowering bite you see in most whiskey barrel aged beers. The combination of flaked oats, chocolate malts, and other roasted grains give this 6% beer a subtle complexity that's rarely balanced this well. The official name of the beer is 'Local Legend - Jameson Edition,' which also leads one to believe that this will somehow be a theme in a series of future beers. (Which may also coincide with rumors of their expansion and possible distillery only a few blocks away from the current brewery.)
The event itself went off without a hitch, with beers and cocktails flowing, along with food trucks and live music to keep the party going, until they had to kick everyone out. What little beer remains, will only be served at the Deep Ellum Taproom and only a few select draft accounts across the city. Seek it out, and you too can become a Local Legend.