While watching some video podcasts on home brewing beer last week, I kept getting these references to the same source. I did some research, read a few articles and watched a few specific videos on the same reference. I decided to deviate from my beaten path of lagers, wheat beers and pilseners and buy a brand which, for the most part, epitomizes the art, craftsmanship and enjoyment of drinking beer. It is perhaps the quintessential beer. The world’s most famous beer. In Europe, the household word for beer is this beer. I decided to buy and try something different. I decided to get a sixpack of Guinness Draught. I am not a man, I am not a true beer drinker until I have a Guinness.
I’ve had tastes of Guinness in the past and I remembered the dark coffee and caramel nuances, but my palate was “tainted” by the previous consumption of other beers beforehand. If I was to have a Guinness, I’d have it properly. As the first beer of the day and a review beer for Saturday night. The Morris Beer Sore had a few sixpacks on the shelf with a surprising price of 8 bucks for the lot. This ain’t gonna be that bad.
When I got the sixer home, I reviewed the label on the bottle. “SERVE EXTRA COLD” it said. I figured that a half hour before review time, I’d chunk 2 or 3 bottles in the freezer. That worked out good and bad. I had forgotten about it after an hour and half, and the first one I uncapped was frozen (surprisingly, it recovered later.) Alas. I took the remaining freezer bottles out and placed them on the floor. I took one of the last bottles from the fridge and freed it from it’s cap.
I know of the little nitrogen “pellet” thats in every container of Guinness. It’s the secret behind the “cascade,” the wonderful way that the suds form the head of the beer. Every Guinness I had for this review elicited this cascade and I could only watch and wait in amazement while it did its thing and finished its 30-second performance. What a nice surprise.
I poured the entire contents of the bottle into the glass in one fell swoop disregarding all advice I’ve read about the proper way to pour a Guinness. Post-cascade, I stuck my snout in the glass. Whoa, there’s a lot of aroma there. A hint of caramel, some chocolate perhaps and the other ingredients which really sets of the aroma. The head came up thick and creamy and set up residence at the top of the glass. The appearance is very dark, in that it doesn’t pass the ambient light through very easily. I had to shine the Back and Decker Weekend Warrior flashlight through the contents in order to appreciate the rich darkness this beer has. The first taste revealed the caramel and coffee flavoring and I was surprised at how smooth this beer was. The richness manifested towards the sides of my palate rather than the back like other beers. This beer isn’t at all what I thought it would be. I imagined it to be thick and strong, to be eaten with a spoon rather than drunk. But I was wrong. Different? Yes. Thick and strong? Absolutely not. Smooth. Nicely smooth.
Successive tastes of Guinness put me quite at ease and I imagined being in an Irish pub drinking pints with the lads, talking and laughing and ogling the bar wenches while Liam and Sean played darts and trash talked. This beer goes down quite easy and smooth and leaves you with that small voice that says, “Let’s have one more.” By the end of the second bottle, I had a decent respect for this beverage. It’s actually quite good. I might even have a third. “Barkeep! Another round for me and the boys!”
Try this beer at least once in your life. All the previous misconceptions you may have had about Guinness Draught will be gone. Mine are. Hold those preconceptions for the Guinness Stout and another day. Drinking this draught beer was a real pleasant experience for this Saturday. I don’t regret buying this beer one bit. I am now a man!
Taste: B – different, surprising and unique.
Smoothness: A – truly surprising. A treat for your buds.
Drinkability: A – surprising. They go down so easily.
Bang for the buck: B – 8 bucks. A nice surprise.
Wife’s all encompassing opinion: “It’s not bitter but it has that dark taste like coffee. I don’t like coffee.” (No surprise here at all.)