Dogfish Head
By Kirk Miller / January 14, 2019 9:00 am

Whiskey finished in rum barrels is a new trend we’re digging — these are two spirits that play well together.

We also love the concept of beer folk dabbling in the spirits world (an idea that produced our favorite new bourbon of 2018). Breweries tend to be more experimental in nature — or, at least, their answer to innovation isn’t always “sherry cask.”

So now we’ve got a couple of burgeoning drinking trends coming to a (Dogfish) head with Alternate Takes: Volume 1, the new rum cask-finished whiskey from Dogfish Head.

You know DH — the Delaware brewery, started in 1995, is a leader in the craft beer movement and produces several seasonal, one-off and experimental brews (most notably a ridiculously hoppy 120 Minute IPA, ales based on residue found on Midas-era drinking vessels, and beer-wine hybrids).

But Dogfish also runs a like-minded distillery, where they handcraft small batches of unique spirits, including roasted peanut vodka, bottled cold brew cocktails and, now, a whiskey finished in rum casks. Alternative Takes is a mix of two-row barley, Applewood smoked barley, coffee kilned and crystal malts, R-O Water, all fermented using the brewery’s “‘Doggie’ yeast and finished in DH’s Barrel Honey Rum barrels.

As the brewers note: “In the analog age of music, artists recorded take after take, experimenting with alternate sounds until a great record emerged. Playing on the artistically creative concept of an “alternate take,” We experimented with adding a new take on the scratch-made whiskey by exploring alternate barrel finishings.”

The rum-barrel finished whiskey, the first in a series, is available at the Dogfish Head distillery, as well as various locations in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and D.C., for $45/bottle. One good way to try it: Fly up for one of the two Spirits Weekends (Jan. 25-26, Feb. 15-16) the brewery is offering, which includes lodging at the Dogfish Inn, fireside chats with the distilling team and assorted tours and meals.

Photo: Dogfish Head