AVONDALE — Revolution Brewing’s latest Scottish-inspired drop is being paired with an, ahem, interesting dish: spiced sheep’s organs served inside sheep’s stomach. Also known as haggis.
Fans of the Avondale-based taproom can try a homemade version of haggis Friday along with the brewery’s new V.S.O. Gravedigger, a Scotch ale-style beer aged for two years in premium bourbon barrels from Eagle Rare, Elijah Craig and WhistlePig Rye.
Typical haggis is sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, stuffed inside sheep’s stomach or sausage casing and boiled. You can’t get a fully authentic version here because the Department of Agriculture has banned consumption of animal lungs since 1971.
The homemade version — sans sheep’s lungs — being paired with Revolution’s brew Friday comes from John Carruthers, Revolution’s communications director. He will serve his with a whiskey cream sauce.
It “sounds severe when you think about it, but all sausage are trimmings that are ground, spiced and then stuffed into casings, which are intestine,” Carruthers said. “It’s a proudly defiant piece of throwback history, and what better place to sell it than in the city that read Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ and said we demand better hot dogs?”
The brewery is accepting preorders for V.S.O. Gravedigger on its website. You can pick it up in person starting 2 p.m. Friday at Revolution’s Avondale brewery and taproom, 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. The beer will be sold in $40 four-packs and limited to three per person.
“This is the first time we’ve put it in for like two years of extended aging,” Carruthers said. “And it’s the first time we’ve ever done that with Gravedigger Billy, it’s the fanciest and most fussed over Scotch ale we’ve ever produced.”
A portion of haggis will cost about $6-$7, about the price of a hot dog, and it will be available while it lasts Friday, Carruthers said.
The Scotch ale style of beer can be traced back to recipes that appeared in Edinburgh due to an early 1600s law forbidding the importation of English ales to help Scotland’s brewing industry, according to Beer & Brewing.
V.S.O. Gravedigger has notes of toffee, maple and dried fruit accented with a subtle beechwood smokiness, according to Revolution. It has a 14.9 percent alcohol by volume, according to the brewery.
“Scotch ales are kind of cult-favorite beer style. It’s very malty and almost has zero hops. When people hear Scotch, they think it’s going to be peaty, smoky, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Carruthers said.
Obviously, a Scottish beer steeped in hundreds of years of history has to be paired with the country’s most famous dish.
“It’s one of the tastier things and one of the recipients of some of the worst marketing in the history of sausage,” Carruthers said. “It’s fun because you get your Scotch ale, and then you get your haggis, and if you do need that extra bit of courage to try something new, you could do worse than a 14-percent, barrel-aged beer to sit alongside it.”
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