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Sierra Nevada Released Its First-Ever Beer Distilled into a Whiskey

Beer and whiskey brands go hand-in-hand with each other. While completely different in flavor profiles, the craft, care, and creativity they use when making small-batch offerings are near identical. A collaborative endeavor that epitomized this claim was Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s work with California distiller St. George Spirits to create the deliciously popular Ruthless Rye IPA in 2013. Almost ten years later, the two West Coast standouts are teaming up again to make a beer-distilled rye whiskey that will tantalize both beer and whiskey lovers alike, the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey.

In a sense, the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey has been a release for many years in the making, ever since Sierra Nevada started brewing the wash St. George’s Single Malt Whiskey programs in the late 1990s. To craft the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey, St. George’s head distiller Dave Smith carefully chose and blended whiskeys from seven Ruthless Rye IPA casks and then married them in a small portion of the first barrel of St. George Single Malt Whiskey, which was brewed by Sierra Nevada and distilled by St. George Spirits in 1997. It was a fully hopped and finished beer prior to distillation and was then laid down in new American oak and used French oak port casks in 2013. After what had to have been an excruciating eight years of waiting, the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey was finally ready for its debut.

While Ruthless in name, the experience of the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey is anything but. On the nose, expect a combination of chocolate, turmeric, pistachio, fruit punch, and coconut notes. For its palate, notes of marmalade, coconut, roasted pineapple, ginger, white pepper, and even Tootsie Roll show up. Retailing for $75, the Ruthless Rye Malted Whiskey is limited to only 1,000 bottles and can only be purchased at the St. George Spirits Distillery in Alameda, CA.

Purchase: $75

Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company x St. George Spirits
Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company x St. George Spirits