Bold pair: Brewer, distiller collaborate on Russian imperial stout, whiskey

Canteen Brewhouse head brewer Zach Guilmette, left, and Taylor Garrett Spirits founder and distiller Scott Feuille have collaborated on a Russian imperial stout and an imperial whiskey. (Courtesy of Canteen Brewhouse and Taylor Garrett Spirits)

Canteen Brewhouse and Taylor Garrett Spirits have entered a collaboration for the ages.

“It’s been fun to create something unique, with the growth of craft distilling we’ve seen over the last five to 10 years. You see a lot of crossover between spirits and craft beer, and I don’t think anything can speak to a better combination than a whiskey and imperial stout that was born from the same malt bill,” said Canteen Brewhouse head brewer Zach Guilmette. “And (it’s) fun to taste both and see how they compare. I think everybody’s going to have a fun time seeing the different flavor profiles and characteristics in both.”

The brewery will release Canteen Imperial Stout on Friday, Jan. 22, at its brewhouse located at 2381 Aztec NE. It will be available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans. A limited amount also will be on tap.

The same malt bill and grains were used to create the stout and the Taylor Garrett Canteen Imperial Whiskey.

“After aging it in whiskey barrels for a few months, you really get this nose of beautiful oak and some whiskey added to the dark roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate,” Guilmette said of the stout. “And into the flavor you get into nice coffee and chocolate and some burnt grain and a beautiful vanilla, and that comes from the whiskey and the whiskey barrel, the oak itself. As it warms up, you get cinnamon, you get dried fruit. I think what’s unique about it, is your first sip is going to taste entirely different from the last and continue to change and build different flavor characteristics.”

The release of Taylor Garrett Canteen Imperial Whiskey takes place Jan. 29 at the distillery, 315 Alameda NE. A limited of the stout also will be available in the four-packs and on tap.

“It really starts off on the nose,” said Taylor Garrett Spirits founder and distiller Scott Feuille. “You get a lot of those malt characteristics, and there’s a sweetness, and then on the palate you get an initial sweetness and you get a little bit of sandalwood with the oak in it and then some really nice baking spices. But what impresses me about the whole thing is the finish just goes on and on. So you get that dark chocolate followed by the coffee and those same burnt grains kind of on the back end. It’s a very nice, smooth finish, but it goes on for a good 20 seconds, and it just evolves through the course of the finish through these different flavor profiles that are straight from that beer grain mash build. It’s beautiful.”

This is the first collaboration for Taylor Garrett Spirits.

“I really love the collaborative environment in the craft brewing community,” Feuille said. “When I set off to do Taylor Garrett I wanted it to incorporate the same collaborative spirit into distilled spirits and the best way to do that was to find somebody I thought would be a good partner to release our first collaboration. And of course, Canteen being (one of) the oldest continuously producing craft (breweries) in New Mexico with a rich history was a perfect match.”

Guilmette said the collaboration is a first of a number of a series of releases with Taylor Garrett and looks forward to when it is safe to throw a release party again. For now, he and Feuille will focus on cross promoting their collaboration.

“This has been such a great experience for me working with Zach and working with the folks here at Canteen,” Feuille said. “And of course we had a lot bigger vision for a release party and exciting things happening outside of the environment we’re in now. This pandemic, of course, has produced some challenges, but at the same time, it’s been great for me to have this experience working during this pandemic, working through these challenges to get a really exciting new product and something that I hope really helps both of our businesses and creates a little bit of excitement out there in the community during a time where there is not a whole lot to get excited about.”

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