Boilermaker – A term derived through necessity

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A beer and paired with a Whisky is now commonly referred to as a boilermaker. Nowadays this is the art of expertly matching a beer with a whisky to enhance the flavours of each of the beverages. At bars around the world there are entire pages dedicated to the boilermaker with endless options and combinations. But 100 years ago, this was not the case. So where did it come from?

The term boilermaker is said to have started in the United States. In the 1900’s the Irish were immigrating to America for work. Often working on railways or other manual professions, the Irish were renowned for wearing boiler maker outfits while they worked.

When they knocked off from work they would go straight to the bar and order a beer and a whisky. As there was not yet a common name for this combination at the time, the locals would act like in a scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and asked, “I’ll have what he’s having”, more accurately they would ask “I’ll have what the Boilermakers’ having”.

The rest, as they say, is history. Although it is not the most dramatic of back stories, it is very fitting that by accident the world stumbled across such an icon, and that as usual the Irish were central to the find.

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