Asbury Park has the distinction of being one of New Jersey’s most rock and roll towns. But it’s also on the map as one of the best up-and-coming towns for beer; thanks to new breweries popping up in the city. Currently making its way through the US, Tullamore D.E.W.’s D.E.W. & A Brew tour came to celebrate beer and music at NJ venue, the House of Independents.
The story behind the tour, which started on January 9th and wraps up just before St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, is a simple one. It’s about pairing the Irish whiskey with a local beer in each city. Tullamore D.E.W. Ambassador Jane Maher spoke to Best of NJ at the event. Explaining that while many think the proper way to pair the two is a quick shot before a beer chaser; that’s not necessarily correct.
The Right Way to Enjoy Whiskey
“The D.E.W. & a Brew concept can be interpreted as a shot and a beer, but when I’m out there and I’m doing tastings, I’m encouraging people to sip the beer, sip the whiskey, sip the beer, sip the whiskey,” she said. “That’s how we drink it in Ireland. Allow it to rest on the palate and evaporate away. You get the real flavor then in your palate. The first sip is introducing the senses, and the second sip is when you really grasp the flavor.”
Maher says that while Tullamore D.E.W. isn’t necessarily a small brand, they’re small relative to other whiskey companies, and that’s the underlying mentality when looking for beer brands to partner with on the tour. That’s what led them to Asbury Park Brewery. “We came across them; they’re brand new, and we really like their vibe,” she mentioned. “Many people make really good beer, but for me, I really like to look at the overall concept, and they’re inspired by the music industry, which is really really strong here.”
Of the 26 stops on the D.E.W. & A Brew tour, not all of them included music, however, making the Asbury Park stop a special occasion. “We started in L.A. and had a launch party there, so we worked with three up-and-coming artists,” Maher told Best of NJ. “Austin was another one. There’s here, and the tour finishes on Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago, so we’re going to do a St. Patrick’s Day eve show there.”
Whiskey and Live Music: A Perfect Pairing
When searching for bands to partner with, Maher explained that Tullamore is looking for local acts with good followings. For the House of Independents event, they selected Brick and Mortar to headline, a duo that certainly qualifies. Fellow Jersey acts Seaside Caves and Dollys also played for the packed venue.
Maher, who started out in the spirits industry working for Smithwicks in Kilkenny Ireland, says that just ten years ago, when she started drinking whiskey neat, she was looked at strangely as a female whiskey drinker in her homeland. “Even in Ireland, it was associated with the older generation,” she admits. “That’s changing now and has changed. I’m meeting people everyday to do tastings, and it’s all types of people. There’s less and less judgement for females. The majority of entrants to brown spirits are females, so it’s changed a lot.”
For the female, or male for that matter, looking to venture into whiskey, Maher recommends Irish whiskeys as a good place to start. Of course, she’s biased towards Tullamore D.E.W., calling it approachable with “a beautiful sweetness and fruitiness” that’s not as harsh as some others. Again, even though she’ll do a shot occasionally, she’d suggest people sip, not shoot, to best enjoy their whiskey and beer pairing. The D.E.W. & A Brew tour ends on St. Patrick’s Day, with a handful of stops across the country remaining.