So, Guinness. This beer, if you can call it that, seems like it stands in a category all on its own. It originated in the brewery of Arther Guinness in Dublin (St. James’ Gate), Ireland in the late 18th century. While it is an Irish Dry Stout, the very particular and refined characteristics of its ingredients, as well as the process in which it is made, have decade after decade made it stand out as an absolute monster. I’m not saying that this beer is the only one with a storied history. I’m just saying, this beer is Guinness.
Not everyone likes this beer. I’ve read the reviews: weak nose, too watery, bland mouthfeel … but everyone I know that favors beer has had Guinness. And from where I’m standing on the street, almost everyone of that group can’t say enough about not only its taste, but often its culture. They throw their heads back when recalling the characteristic cascading, beam when recalling their first ever pint from the tap (note: everyone seems to remember their first Guinness like it was the most vivid of their memories), and even mix other beers with it to get a better result. There’s just something about Guinness that makes people do a double take. I had my first Guinness in an Irish pub in Seville, Spain. It was loud, and everyone was drinking Heineken, and I just wasn’t feeling it. It came in a signature tulip glass with a two-finger head that had been “stamped” with an outline of a four-leaf clover. Haven’t had a better looking draft since.
On to tonight’s pour: drinking this draught out of a can makes it less sexy, but the essentials are still present. The Guinness website details the 6-step process to pouring “The Perfect Pint,” which according to the brewer should take 119.53 seconds. The smell of this Guinness is definitely faint, unlike the pale ales I love so much that smell like all kinds of citrus sweetness. Because I’ve drank this beer before I know that the roasted malt gives it what aroma it does have, and the roasted barley helps out with that ridiculous deep thick red color. Red, you say? Yeah … believe it or not. Just put the glass up to a light and you’ll see it shine through.
The taste is just superb. There is little to no (mostly no) carbonation, and a definite roasted, coffee-like flavor to it, which I guess is its most definable trait. There are a lot of minerals and antioxidants and other things present in Guinness that also contribute. It is über smooth. It finishes with a slight tang at the back of the throat, nothing substantial. And at around 4.20% ABV, I would even say that Guinness Draught is more “sessionable” than most would think. I have had pints over the course of an evening before without any real distaste or adverse effects.
If you are a beer aficionado, you have had Guinness, and you most likely enjoy it. I feel like most people who reside at the extremes of opinion when it comes to Guinness live there because of some intellectual stimulus. As for me, I actually like the taste. And the more I taste and learn about this big player in the history of beer, the more I fall in love. Easily one of my favorite beers of all time. Slainte!