Go Fork Yourself: Franciscan Well Jameson Barrel Aged Stout
How’s this for a mouthful? – ‘Franciscan Well Jameson Barrel Aged Stout’. The name really couldn’t be more helpful: the good people of the Franciscan Well in Cork have commandeered Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels to age a stout. Yes. And Ramp was lucky enough to be invited to the launch in W.J. Kavanaghs, Dorset St, Dublin 1 recently.
It was the perfect setting for the launch and what the brewers want to achieve. Dave Quinn, the Master of Whiskey Science for Jameson, and Shane Long, the Founder and the Master Brewer at the Franciscan Well were on hand to explain their inspiration (it was alcohol-fuelled) and their approach of having neither the stout element or the Jameson liquor take charge of the flavour profile. The finished product achieves this and is pleasing in many respects.
The stout occupies some notional viscous territory between silk and happiness. The intention is that the stout would be a happy companion to a meal, and the setting of W.J. Kavanagh’s was the optimal place to prove this with the outstanding menu brought together to match the food.
Housed in a tall, old-school bottle, with simple, classic labelling, the treacle black stout has a sumptuous taste and texture. The honeyed sweet heat of the whiskey is there; the throat coating spice of the stout is there but the two combine to create a stout much lighter than you would expect but still one with layers of flavour. It was clear on the night that the room was full of people who are invested in and passionate about what they do – why wouldn’t they be? The great reward though is a collaboration like this with Irish producers creating a stout that is both contemporary and reveres tradition. You can imagine the stout being ordered off the shelf and supped at room temperature on a bar stool, being served fridge-cold with meat off a BBQ or in a combination that sounds quaint but would be magic, with gingerbread and some strong cheddar.