Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is a holiday that all beer makers love because they get to sell a lot of their product haha. As an Irish holiday, many people turn to Irish beer to truly get in the spirit of things. Arguably the most well known of Irish beers comes from the brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland, GUINNESS! It was founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, and they became well known for selling their “dark porter” around London and Ireland. You see at the time, the word “stout” referred to a beer’s strength and not it’s body and color. While the St. James Gate brewery has always been located in Ireland, Guinness also had a brewery in London, where they were headquartered for awhile. The London location closed in 2005 and everything moved to the Ireland location.
Guinness Draught is one of the world’s most recognizable beers and probably the most well known stout. Usually when people think of a dark beer, they think of this guy. Guinness Draught is classified as a Dry Stout, and while many people think a dark beer is high in alcohol, this beer has only 4.1%. That’s even less that Bud Light! Dry stouts originated in Ireland and are dark and roasty. That well known image of a frothy head comes from the fact that draught dry stouts are always served over nitrogen carbonation. This gives it a frothy head and that ideal downward cascading agitation. I am drinking this beer….out of a bottle.
Now I know what you’re thinking, Cavie what the heck are you thinking? It has draught in the name so it obviously should be enjoyed on tap! Well yes….and no. Draught kegs will always have the look and feel of a dry stout, which is why for the longest time Guinness was only available on draught. But a few years ago some advancements in beer science allowed for the introduction of nitrogen in bottles and cans. Some cans you will see that are served in this style have a small nitrogen widget inside. This releases nitrogen when the can is opened and gives the beer that draught feel. The Guinness bottle is different. The nitrogen has been infused in the lining on the neck of the bottle, and when it is tilted, the beer running over this lining releases the nitrogen. Guinness recommends that you drink this beer directly from the bottle to get the largest nitrogen effect. I will try it both from the bottle and in a glass, as aromas are easier to release in a glass. Plus I have a sweet Guinness glass that I want to show off!
This beer pours just like you would expect it to; thick and creamy. The nitrogen from the neck of the bottle has given the beer a creamy head and appearance. The color is pitch black, until it’s held up to the light and then a tiny amount of brown colors start to emerge. The head is tall and creamy brown.
The aroma is roasted sweet malts, with some bits of toasted malt and creamy caramel notes. Nitrogen aromas can be detected as well, but would be much more prevalent on tap.
The flavor is also dark malts with a large portion of roasted bitterness. This bitterness has a dry end and continues through the finish. Kinda like if you bite into burnt toast, how it holds that slightly burnt flavor. Very creamy mouthfeel. Dry and roasty.
I remember the first time I had this I literally poured out most of the bottle. I thought it was milky and disgusting. Then I had it on tap several years later, and while I thought it was better than the first time, it still wasn’t my thing. Now I’m having it from a nitrogen bottle several years after that and I’m actually liking it. Interesting! Oh and happy St. Patrick’s Day and drive safe!