A little over a year ago our barrel team set out to find inspiration for new beers. To get the creative juices flowing they made a round of classic Manhattan cocktails (what, you thought brewers only drank beer?) and the brainstorm session was on. It didn’t take too long for them to figure out they had inspiration right in front of their faces and Manhattan Social Club was born.
The Manhattan cocktail contains four essential ingredients: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters and a cherry. Using the specific flavor profile of a Manhattan as their guide the guys set out to deconstruct the different elements while staying true to their favorite cocktail.
They use an Imperial Rye Ale as the base to mimic the rye whiskey and give it the necessary spicy rye note. Bitters have a distinct herbal and, well, bitter character to them. They put together a heady combination of spices in the brewhouse and in the barrel to try to recreate them.
The sweet vermouth was tricky, but using creativity and the knowledge they gained from discussions with local bartenders they decided the flavors could come from a plum puree added to the barrel during barrel-aging. Using their combined brain power they also came up with a great way to get cherry character into the beer: they added cherry to it.
100% of the beer in the bottle is barrel-aged in a variety of different rye whiskey barrels. The finished product has an underlying sweetness that dances below the spicy and herbal notes, truly reconstructing the flavors of the original.