Innis & Gunn got its start when Dougal Sharp, then head brewer for the famed Caledonian Brewing Company in Edinburgh, Scotland, was asked by a nearby whisky distillery to put some beer in their oak casks, to impart certain characteristics they would exploit in their production. Though the beer was not intended to be drunk, it didn’t take many casks for someone to notice how good the stuff was, and eventually Sharp began bottling his own oak cask-aged beers, under the Innis & Gunn label.
The company makes a few different beers and ales, and has a specialty line as well. One of these is the Spiced Rum Aged Porter, a darkish, red-hued brew that offers up a distinctive rum note on the nose, along with a bit of vanilla and some caramel. For such a dark beer, it is very light on the palate, not sweet as the aroma might have indicated, with good structure and actually quite refreshing. Unlike many other spirit-infused beers, this one keeps the rum note intact throughout, a touch unctuous, spicy certainly, but that is really only one note among many in this layered, complex brew. It is reminiscent to some degree of Vancouver’s own 33 Acres of Darkness, another product that maintains a surprising, and very welcome, lightness on the palate, rather than monolithic domination from dark-roasted malt reigning over the kingdom.
In Canada, Craig Wong, owner and chef of Toronto’s beloved Patois restaurant, created a Spiced Rum Aged Porter Jerk Marinade, perfect for marinating whole chickens or big pork roasts. The recipe is well worth it.
Sufficient for two whole chickens or three pounds of pork.
3 tablespoons peeled ginger
2 whole Scotch bonnet peppers (stems removed)
3 bunches coarsely chopped scallions
3 cloves peeled garlic
2 tablespoons pimento, toasted, fine ground
¼ cup light soy sauce
½ cup Innis & Gunn Spice Rum Aged Porter
10 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
Combine ginger, Scotch bonnet, scallion, and garlic. Blend briefly, then, while still blending, add soy and Porter.
Add pimento, thyme, and salt to finish.
Marinate chicken or pork overnight.
Grill over medium flame, or bake in oven at 350 degrees C.
(Enjoy with a beer or two.)
Make it at home. Get more recipes here.