Guinness Brews Up New Believers in NYC

Guinness gave a simulated tour of its famed St. James’ Gate Brewery at the Altman Building in New York City last night. Though the actual brewery is, of course, in Dublin, the Guinness folks provided a virtual tour via video screens, and talked the audience through a brief history of the company. Founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, who signed a 9,000 year lease at St. James’ Gate, Guinness is now watched over by master brewer Fergal Murray, who is in charge of making sure the dark, creamy beer maintains its consistent texture and flavor. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the famed harp logo associated with Guinness also happens to be the logo of the Irish government. If the harp is facing right, it’s Guinness; if left, it’s the government.

According to the official slogan, it takes exactly 119.5 seconds to pour a perfect pint of Guinness; that half a second is allegedly the difference between a good pint and a perfect one. After being given a perfect (and, more importantly, free) pint upon entering the event, an announcement was made that “our show will begin in 119.5 seconds,” at which point a countdown began. Charismatic comedian Dan Soder then appeared onstage to give us some background on the classic Guinness draught we had just imbibed, which is nitrogenated, a process that sets it apart from other beers and gives it that unique, smooth texture. He also gave us some helpful hints on how to mix Guinness with other beers made by the same company, such as Harp Lager and Smithwick’s Ale: Guinness mixed with Smithwick’s is a “blacksmith,” while Guinness mixed with Harp is a “half and half.”

We then proceeded to try mini-pints of a few special brews developed by Guinness. First up was the Foreign Extra Stout, a tasty brew with slightly more bite to it than the classic Guinness and also a bit more sweetness, giving it a flavor similar to very dark chocolate. The Foreign Extra Stout contains more hops and more alcohol (7.5% ABV) than any other Guinness brew, because it was originally developed to be shipped long distances overseas, and alcohol and hops both act as preservatives. The last beer we sampled was Guinness Black Lager, which was my personal favorite of the three. It is cold brewed with roasted barley, giving it a crisp, clean taste that is lighter and more refreshing than the standard thick, creamy finish of the brew for which Guinness is best known. Though not as strong as the Foreign Extra Stout, it is definitely a better summer beer, and one that I will likely sample again in the coming months.


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Guinness introduces its new Black Lager

If you like Guinness, the famous Irish stout beer, and you also enjoy a good lager, then you’ll probably want to try the beer maker’s new Black Lager. We’re always up for a cold beer, and we were definitely intrigued by a new lager made by Guinness, so we gladly accepted the opportunity to try a cold one.

When you pour this into the glass the dark color immediately makes an impression. But if you look closely you can see that this won’t have the same creamy texture of a Guinness stout. One sip and that’s the first thing you’ll notice as well, but then there’s that taste. There’s enough here to remind you of the classic flavors of a Guinness. Yet it’s a lager so it has a lighter, crisper feel as well. The result is something truly unique.

Here’s how Guinness describes it:

Aroma: Gentle floral and fruity notes balance nicely with hints of roast.

Flavor: Light and crisp from the start, quickly revealing a subtle sweet malt and roast character with a pleasant slight hop finish that invites the next sip. Overall, a taste that is uniquely flavorful yet deeply refreshing.

Palate: Lively mouth-feel that is crisp and clean.

I can’t quarrel with any of that. I still prefer the famous stout, but the Black Lager offers a nice alternative.


Getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day

Amanda Neal Irish Model St. Patrick's Day

What better to get you in the mood for a day of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day than a photo of a beautiful Irish model with green eyes and strawberry blonde hair – our very own Amanda Neal. She got into the spirit in her photo shoot with plenty of green St. Patrick’s Day gear, and we expect you’ll run into plenty of Irish hotties like Amanda who will get friendlier by the hour as they drink up more beer on this excellent holiday.

Speaking of beer, many of you will be drinking up plenty of Guinness, but our beer expert Mike Barkacs has another Irish beer suggestion for your drinking pleasure – Murphy’s Stout.

St. Patrick’s Day seems to be a problem for many people. Well, it’s become a problem for me anyway. On that day, I can’t seem to stand at a bar more than five minutes without some stumbling amateur falling into me, sloshing my drink and soaking me with theirs. Otherwise fairly normal people, albeit dressed in garish and silly clothing, take to whooping and hollering for no apparent reason, morning, noon and night. Almost all bar conversations devolve into slurred professions of either undying love or spluttering demands to step outside. It’s Saturday night with all the good bits removed. What is the perfect beverage for this happy and festive occasion? Murphy’s Stout works on just about every level.

On this, of all days, something mistakenly Irish is actually most appropriate. Sure, there’s always the ubiquitous black stuff that everyone else will be having, but that may be a tad too genuine. Guinness is fine, but save that for all the other days of the year. Murphy’s looks the part of a popular Irish beer, even though it’s not made in Cork anymore. It’s black with a tan head — what else do you want? It might be a tad creamier than its more famous cousin, but you’d be hard pressed to spot a difference between the two by sight alone. So, like the rest of the revelers, it will easily pass for Irish just this once. Even if it is now made in, well, England. Birthplace of St. Patrick himself.

Of course, you don’t have to drink Irish beer on this Irish holiday, so feel free to check out Mike’s other beer reviews for other options.