Irish Rhodes, Take Me Home: Jameson and Foolproof got drunk, had a fling and made a baby

The art of mixing whiskey and beer originated in Butte, Montana, during the copper boom of the 1890s, and while the practice has evolved somewhat since then, it took a bit of inspiration from a Pawtucket brewer and a legendary Irish distiller to perfect (in my estimation, at least) the concept. Working in tandem with Jameson Irish Whiskey of Midleton, Ireland, Foolproof Brewery tapped into a largely unexplored world of inebriating creativity to develop Irish Rhodes, an imperial Irish red ale, barrel-aged in the distillery’s vintage casks. Robust at 7.5% ABV, it is a complex brew with distinct malt and whiskey notes, backed by a moody, dark crimson hue and a full body.

According to Foolproof’s head brewer, Steve Sharp, Irish Rhodes originated as a small batch of Irish red ale, made for the taproom. But small in quantity as it was, it was a big hit and when the opportunity arose to create malted magic with Jameson, there was only one way the project would evolve.

It may seem natural that all Irish Rhodes would lead to the Ocean State, but in the case of the relationship between Jameson and Foolproof, it is more like the road less traveled. Foolproof is only one of 16 craft breweries in the entire country Jameson has partnered with as part of its Drinking Buddies initiative. Other breweries include Harpoon in Boston, Mass and Great Divide in Denver, Colo, with the concept being reversed back in Ireland. Oh yes, dear giddy reader, Jameson is maturing whiskies in beer-soaked barrels in County Cork as we speak, with Jameson Caskmates Stout and IPA editions already on the market. And with our own distilling culture fully fledged through the likes of Sons of Liberty, White Dog and Newport Craft, it shouldn’t be long until we have our very own Rhody version of Drinking Buddies and Caskmates popping up all over the Ocean State. Now there’s an idea for you all to chew on.

Postscript: We welcome any invitation from the fine folks in Midleton for one of the Motif crew to head across the pond to sample the wares. It is the least we could do to support your fine work. In fact, this writer can think of at least one native of Belfast who might be willing to accept the offer. Let us know!





Rhode Island Distributing Company (RIDC) hosted a reception at Pawtucket’s Foolproof Brewing Company on September 13 to debut Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition, Stout and Porter editions. The triple-distilled whiskey is finished in stout-seasoned casks and boasts flavor notes of cocoa, coffee and butterscotch. Guests also sampled the Foolproof Grotto, an IPA debuted by Foolproof Brewing this past spring, and took part in brewery tours by Head Brewer Steve Sharp. Foolproof Brewing is one of the 16 craft breweries highlighted by the Jameson Drinking Buddies program, which showcases distinct craft beer collaborations with American breweries. Jameson Irish Whiskey Caskmates are meant to be paired with the beers as a “sip and savor” experience to complement each other. The new whiskies can also be enjoyed apart or in cocktails.

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