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First smoked beer from Innis & Gunn released

Innis & Gunn's latest limited release is Smokin’ Gunn, a 7.4%abv smoked beer in 330ml bottles packaged in cartons.

Created in collaboration with David Ashton-Hyde, head bartender at the Hinds Head in Bray, Smokin’ Gunn is the brewer’s first smoked beer, made in the style of a Bamberg Rauchbier. The German Spring variety malts are smoked over beech wood to give a light charcoal character to the beer, which is then matured – in trademark Innis & Gunn style – in ex-bourbon casks for a big vanilla hit before being finished with maple syrup for a toasty sweetness. 

Inspired by his love of Candian and American whiskies, and a weakness for pancakes and maple syrup, David’s Smokin’ Gunn recipe wowed the judges in the final showdown of the inaugural Innis & Gunn Bartender’s Choice competition last year.  Seeing off competition from 300 bartenders from the UK, Sweden and Canada, David’s concept was a well-balanced, full-bodied beer that would serve as the perfect after-dinner drink.

The 33 year-old from Bray said: “My hope with the recipe was to create a beer that would encompass both savoury and sweet elements, so, while other beers play towards being paired with food, this is a beer that is designed to be brought out at the right stage in a meal and enjoyed in its own right.

“The soured mash and the sweet and smoky tones from the maple and bourbon offset one another really well.  The charcoal and caramel hints of bourbon barrels married with the dry and fresh minty tones of the northern brewer hop make for a really powerful flavour experience.”

Commenting on the challenges of bringing together such strong flavours, Dougal Sharp added: “David’s idea had the creative flair we were looking for but the test for us was to balance the beer’s big, robust flavours so that no single ingredient was allowed to dominate.  If you spend time with this one, and give it a chance to open up, you’ll be able to notice the different layers unfolding and the flavours changing as it settles.  Drinking Smokin’ Gunn from a brandy balloon glass is the best way to enjoy this beer.”

David Ashton-Hyde has worked at the Michelin-starred Hinds Head in Bray for three years, focusing on the development of the wet side of the business and ensuring guests get some essential Heston flair by bringing new dimensions to the pub drinking experience.

The packaging designed by Stranger & Stranger features an illustration by Iain McIntosh on the cartons, which are produced by Quantum Packaging.

Smokin’ Gunn is available to buy on Innis & Gunn’s e-shop for £35 a case (12 x single boxed bottles).

17 February 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor