From Barrel to Brew

From Barrel to Brew

posted in Restaurant Happenings

From Barrel to Brew

Over the past few years, the Motor Supply team has selected a single batch barrel of Russell’s Reserve bourbon from Wild Turkey to be used as the house bourbon for Head Barman Josh Streetman’s craft cocktails. Each barrel is special — from tasting notes to where it comes from in the rickhouse at Wild Turkey Distilling Co. in Kentucky — and that’s why Motor Supply strives to create a unique guest experience to showcase each new barrel pick.

From a five-course meal and cocktail pairing dinner with Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell to a collaboration with CottonTown Brew Lab on the “Shake Your Tail Feather” beer aged in one of the bourbon barrels, Motor Supply has made an “event” out of each Wild Turkey barrel-picking.

When it came to the most recent barrel pick, Head Barman Josh Streetman knew that something special needed to come along with it. To keep in line with Motor Supply’s beliefs in sustainability, Josh wanted to find a way to repurpose the barrel. “I’m always finding ways to be more sustainable at the bar,” says Josh, “so I knew this time around we could repurpose the bourbon barrel, as we did with the previous CottonTown Brew Lab collaboration. This time, though, I wanted to play around with it a little more.”

While Motor Supply is the only restaurant in South Carolina that has a single batch barrel, other organizations partner with Wild Turkey, like our friends at the Columbia Bourbon Collective. The Motor Supply and Columbia Bourbon Collective barrels, chosen separately, ended up living in the same rickhouse, on the same floor and on the same rack just a few feet apart at Wild Turkey Distilling Co.

The cosmic coincidence that two groups of friends separately chose barrels so similar that happened to be bottled sequentially, got us thinking. We decided to embark on a new collaborative experiment, calling on CottonTown Brew Lab once again and adding our friends at the Columbia Bourbon Collective.

The experiment? We are taking the empty barrels from both Motor Supply and Columbia Bourbon Collective to brew a beer of the same mash composition to Wild Turkey Distilling’s — reminiscent of what we did with “Shake Your Tail Feather.” Given that the date of bottling, the rickhouse, the date of brewing and more are all controlled and as similar as can be, we’re looking to see how the individual barrel impacts the overall flavor of each beer. [Check out the start of this process on our Facebook page.] 

At the end of the experiment, we’ll compare tasting notes of each beer side by side and to the bourbon from the barrel it was brewed in to see if the similarities in the barrels played a part in the overall tasting notes of the beer.

“It’s going to be a pretty neat experiment,” says Bryant from the Columbia Bourbon Collective. “We’re excited to see if there are any major differences between the flavor of the beers given how similar the bourbon barrels are in almost every controlled aspect possible.”

The Motor Supply team looks forward to tasting the rewards of this process several months from now after the beer brews inside the two Wild Turkey barrels. A date has not been set for the release of the “experimental” beer, but it will be released sometime after the New Year. You can stay up to date with the happenings on social media at @MotorSupply on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In the meantime, guests can look forward to Josh's special New Year's Eve cocktail list, which will be featured alongside the luxe, a la carte menu by Executive Chef Wes Fulmer and his culinary team for our NYE dinner on Dec. 31, 2019.  You can make reservations online at http://www.motorsupplycobistro.com/reserve/.