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America in Barrels: The Jameson Drinking Buddies Program

Drafting a pint of Deep Ellum's Local Legend, a creamy sweet stout with pecans. (Courtesy Deep Ellum)
Drafting a pint of Deep Ellum's Local Legend, a creamy sweet stout with pecans. (Courtesy Deep Ellum)

Deep Ellum's Local Legend Jameson Collaboration Beer ConnoisseurBarrel-aged is a phrase that can bring a twinkle of intrigue to the most banal of brews. When done right, the elixir within can summon flavors powerful enough to suspend time and cause statues of Dionysus to shed a single whiskey-laden teardrop.

So when five American craft breweries got a call from Jameson, makers of the famed Irish whiskey, they knew something special was fomenting, and would soon be fermenting.

The concept was simple enough – Jameson would fly brewers from each company to Ireland, show them how Jameson was made, and send them home with six barrels apiece to make a special collaboration beer. The execution was not as simple. In the case of Jameson, a 235 year-old company, barrels are not given out lightly.

“We want to stay in control of everything that comes out of our barrels,” said Dave Quinn, Jameson’s Master of Whiskey Science.

In fact, until the previous year, no barrels had ever been given to a U.S. company. Even then, it was one company, New York’s KelSo Beer Co., and only ten barrels, which housed a lovingly aged KelSo IPA.

The result was successful enough that Jameson made it an official, annual event – the Jameson Drinking Buddies program. This year’s selections were chosen based on passion, both for their craft and for the communities they serve. Here are the tasting notes for each:


Angel City Brewery Imperial Irish Ale
"Our aim in creating the Imperial Irish Red Ale was to create a beer that reflected the history, complexity and character of the Jameson experience, and also spoke strongly to our local audience of passionate and loyal craft beer lovers." – Jon Carpenter, Angel City Brewmaster

ABV – 15.0%
Color – Rich mahogany hue.
Aroma – Ripe fig and toffee notes.
Flavor – Light vanilla, molasses, black cherries and a distinct peppery finish. The beer has an indulgent, yet subtle sweetness, full body, and lingering warmness.

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