6 years ago

Take a drink on the dark side: All about Guinness

Jason Newell, manager of Wines & Spirits at our Chanhassen store, shares what makes a Guinness Stout so different – and so special.

After a long drive to my parent’s home for spring break I arrived to find the house empty. My parents were not home from work yet, which made it the perfect opportunity to shake off the road dust, grab a beer and
have a few minutes to relax on the couch.

Anxiously I opened the fridge, only to find it completely void of the cold brews I was expecting; instead, on the bottom shelf there remained one single black bottle of beer. “Guinness Extra Stout, brewed since
1759 at St. James Gate, Dublin, Ireland” was typed boldly across the label in black and yellow. This sounded intriguing and menacing at the same time – much more serious than the Bud Light I was used to finding in that fridge.

Recalling that my heritage contains some Irish ancestry, I popped the top and took a swig. The bitter complexity hit me like a right hook. “Wow, what is this?” I remember saying to myself as I looked into the bottle only to see pitch blackness. “This requires more investigation,” I thought as I grabbed a glass and poured the stout, feeling mesmerized by the richness of the dark colors that developed before my eyes. I was surprised, as I bravely took my second and third sips of the stout, how rich its flavor was compared to its
dense black color.

The unique pH level of the water that is used to brew Guinness Stout creates a clean finish that contrasts the complex body that Guinness is known for throughout the world. The spectrum of beer flavors that has been created by the craft beer revolution in the U.S. is now uncountable and continues to grow every day. Loving variety in my life, I am grateful for all the choices of beer styles that are now available to us – but I still find
enjoyment in a pint of Guinness and consider it to be my first craft beer experience. Sitting on the couch that day with my feet up and sipping my Guinness, I was unaware I had just started my discovery of the incredible spectrum of beer flavors the breweries of the world has to offer.

Since that time, Guinness has added many different types of beer to their lineup. The brewery has invented a capsule of nitrogen gas that they put inside their cans of Draught-style Stout. Upon opening the can the capsule releases the nitrogen to give you the same flavor experience that you get sitting at your local Irish pub. This is different than the Extra Stout and most American beers that use CO2 to give beer its bubbles. They have also added a Black Lager and a Blonde American Lager.

St. Patrick’s Day, on March 17, is almost upon us. Personally, I will pass on the vats of green beer being served and reach for the black stout with the creamy white head that can only be a perfectly poured Guinness.