On Tuesday, June 20, Grand Rapids craft distillery Long Road Distillers will release Perrin Black Malt Whisky made in partnership with Perrin Brewing Company. This is the second release of the Long Road Beer City Whisky Series, a line-up of whiskies collaboratively made with four local breweries who have helped earn Grand Rapids the title of “Beer City USA”. Perrin Black Malt Whisky is distilled from the same mash as Perrin Black, a flagship beer from the Comstock Park-based brewery.
“We can’t wait for people to try this whisky,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “Perrin Black has been one of my favorite beers for a long time, and the same crisp, roasted malt flavors that I love from the beer carry over into the aged whisky.”
Grand Rapids has won the title of “Beer City USA” for several years running, and has also been named “Best Beer Town” and “Best Beer Scene” by USA TODAY readers. These titles are an acknowledgement of the many world-class breweries that call Grand Rapids home, but also a nod to the passionate beer lovers that support them.
The idea behind the Beer City Whisky Series stemmed from shared base ingredients between beer and whisky – namely, malted barley. To create the four whiskies in this series, Long Road acquired brewers mash from each brewery and distilled it into malt whisky on their 500 gallon Vendome Pot Still. After each beer was distilled into whisky, it was aged in new American Oak barrels for 12-24 months.
Long Road Distillers has partnered with four Grand Rapids breweries for the initial year of the Beer City Whisky Series and distilled some of their most popular beers: The Mitten Brewing Company (Mitten Country Strong IPA), Perrin Brewing Company (Perrin Black), Harmony Brewing Company/Harmony Hall (Harmony Black Squirrel Peated Porter), and Greyline Brewing Company (Greyline Solshine).
Each whisky will be released in-house at the distillery over the course of the summer in extremely small batches ranging from 100 to 200 bottles per batch.
The first release in the series, Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky, made in partnership with the Mitten Brewing Company, was released May 23.
Perrin Black Malt Whisky will be released on Tuesday, June 20 beginning at 4 pm at the distillery on Leonard Street. A special tour and tasting of the beer and whisky will be led by production team members from both Long Road and Perrin from 7-8 pm on the 20th. People may buy a ticket for the tour and reserve one of a limited number of bottles through Long Road’s website.
In addition to having Perrin Black Malt Whisky available for tastes, cocktails, and bottles to take home on Tuesday, Long Road will be featuring a trio of house-made ice creams inspired by the beer and the whisky complete with all the toppings one would expect at a proper ice cream social. The goal for the night is to have fun, but also to raise awareness about the collaborative spirit that exists in West Michigan.
“We owe a lot of credit to the craft beer community for leading the way in elevating consumer expectations when it comes to quality, flavors, and a deeper understanding of how products are made and who is making them,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “This project has given us the opportunity to work more closely with our friends and peers in the craft beverage industry who share a deep commitment for doing things the right way – and we’re confident it shows!”