I first started drinking Boilermakers in jazz clubs. Places like The Village Vanguard and 55 Bar have a two-drink minimum, but it’s a pain and a distraction to order a drink in the middle of a set of music, so I figured why not get a beer and a shot? To make them last through 45–60 minutes of music, I would sip slowly, back and forth. I quickly realized that the beer enhanced the whiskey, and vice versa. The Boilermaker has been my drink of choice ever since, and you can find it, in a bottomless variety of combos, almost anywhere you go to drink.
Below you’ll find six Boilermaker matchups I developed using Bulleit Bourbon and its Rye and 10-Year-Old variants. My first step was to get familiar with each beer and whiskey on its own, then I tried to match key flavors and aromas the way I would with a cocktail recipe. After a lot of back-and-forth tasting, and some tough calls, I paired each beer with a particular expression of Bulleit Whiskey. Each combo reveals or accentuates a flavor in both the beer and the whiskey that you might not have noticed drinking it alone. That’s what the best Boilermakers do.
All right, who’s thirsty? To the pairings—these are all two servings of alcohol, and meant to be sipped: