I have noticed more that there is a growing trend of breweries producing spirits to compliment their beer range. Many of them are using their existing ingredients and barrels to age the spirit. It seems that brewing and distilling are not too different and it is not just breweries getting in on the action. Jamesons have also famously aged their whiskeys in Irish Stout barrels and more recently in IPA casks supplied by their local craft brewery. Adnams claim to be the first brewery in the UK to produce spirits including vodka, gin and whiskey whilst Sharps decided to team up with Tarquins to create their collaborative spirit – The Hopster Gin. Northern Monk have produced two gins for their portfolio, one white and one black, and Tiny Rebel earlier this year showed us a sneaky glimpse at something that looked like it could also be a gin! Brewdog were the first brewery that I was aware of who were using a mixture of brewing and distilling processes (controversially) for their beers. Sink the Bismarck and Tactical Nuclear Penguin being the results with some eye watering high ABVs which can only be drank in spirit measures.
Wild Beer have also joined in on the growing trend of new gins and have produced a few of their own. I first became aware of this when I tried a Shnoodlepip Gin (inspired by their seasonal beer Shnoodlepip) with Ginger Ale at Indy Man Beer Con last year. Sleeping Lemons has also been given the gin treatment and Spirit of Pogo joins the list after using a distilling process on Pogo. Pogo has been one of my favourite beers since first trying it so I was intrigued when Wild Beer released the Spirit of Pogo. I’m not the biggest spirit drinker but I do enjoy an occasional rum and I was interested to see how these two drinks compared with each other.
On their own Pogo and Spirit of Pogo are different despite being born from the same ingredients. Pogo is fruity and sweet like a Solero ice cream. I could taste more of the passionfruit and orange flavours which remind me more of a soft drink than a beer. Pogo is so fruity and is a great session beer that its no wonder I’ve filled my fridge with it! Spirit of Pogo is more of a grown up drink. It has the bitters that you would expect from a ‘gin like’ spirit and I could taste more of the guava and pithy orange flavours. I drank my Spirit of Pogo with a FeverTree light tonic but you can also have it on the rocks or as Wild Beer recommend – in an Old Fashioned cocktail. Both Pogo and Spirit of Pogo are great for a sunny day and when drank together, compliment each other perfectly!