Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Did you know that some distilleries also make beer? It’s true! But it doesn’t taste so great. So why would a distillery make weird tasting beer, and what makes your traditional beer taste good? The difference is the end goal. In a distillery, those beers go through another process to become a spirit, while breweries have their own ways of ensuring quality.
Everyone knows Scotch Whiskey. What most people don't realize is that Scotch is made from barley, water, and yeast, all ingredients in a typical German-style beer, just without any hops. The process and ingredients are so similar that it won’t surprise you to learn that beer is the actual term for the product produced before it goes through the process of being distilled. The same goes for any other whiskey.
The hops aren't the only difference, distilleries are also more interested in quick flavor development and alcohol content so our “beer” gets as little as two days to ferment before it is put in the still for whiskey production. This accelerated process often produces flavors that aren't necessarily desirable for beer, but when concentrated into a whiskey, produce those interesting flavors whiskey aficionados look for. And the flavors that they aren't looking for? Those tend to mellow and filter out during the several years the whiskey is aging in a barrel.
So, what about your usual beer? Breweries do so much more into their fermenting process than distilleries. For example, a brewery can take three to four weeks to get a standard beer ready to bottle while some sour beers can take years. Slow and steady fermentation, while not worrying about getting as much alcohol as possible, lead to their own set of complex flavors and aromas in beer. Some whiskeys like beer schnapps are made from these types of beers.
3BR Distillery will certainly be making whiskeys, and we are excited to share our unique process with you during our tours when we open. Interested in knowing more about 3BR and distilling? Let us know in the comments!