A Milestone Celebration

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some of the world's truly great breweries have been around a long time. The oldest that comes to mind for me is Weihenstephaner, which has been brewing since 1040. Yes, 26 years before William the Conquerer did all that conquering to create England, these guys were brewing beer and not giving a shit about what some Roman leftovers were doing fighting some guys named Norm.

And then there's Guinness. For 250 years now, Sir Alec Guinness....wait...wrong Guinness...Arthur Guinness' brewery continues to brew the beer that an entire country identifies with. 17 years before our founders drafted and read the Declaration of Independence, Arthur Guinness signed a 1,000-year lease on a brewery in Dublin and began producing the world's most recognizable stout.

And to celebrate a quarter of a millenium in existence, Guinness has brewed Guinness 250. And I was excited to try some.

Like its flagship beer, this stout poured coal-black at first glance, but interestingly showed a slight lightness; some ruby edges and russet-brown highlights. A bubbly, off-white head dissipated quickly to a half finger thickness, but left a good lacing down the glass.

250 smelled almost the same as a regular Guinness Stout: clean doughy yeast, coffee, roasted bitterness and a slight hint of sourness. I started to wonder if this was Guinness Lite...

The taste was different from a normal Guinness. It was as if I mixed Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (the stuff with a yellow label available in the U.S. but not in Ireland). I got more of a chocolaty malt flavor the traditional Stout, and it had a bit more of a milky quality. It did not have Guinness' more powerful roasted and black-patent flavors.

It also didn't have Guinness' thickness. Normally Guinness is a thick, heavy-bodied beer. This beer is much lighter-bodied (though still medium bodied by contrast to other beers), and while it has a smooth, creamy quality to it, it is also pleasantly carbonated.

This is sort of a Guinness Lite. It is a "gateway" stout. It lacks some of the extremely powerful coffee/burned/roast attributes of a lot of stouts, instead having milder roasted and chocolate flavors. It is not as thick bodied, and gives a much lighter impression on the tongue. If I was introducing a mass-market drinker to different beers, I would take them to this beer right away. It's dark, it's out-of-the-ordinary for the ordinary beer drinker, but is very inoffensive. For the Guinness drinker? Drink it because you should have at least 1 to acknowledge the milestone. But stick with Guinness Extra Stout.


Bob 9:07 AM  

Huh. I thought you'd like it more than that. What the f**k do I know?

Bob 9:10 AM  

BTW - I thought of a name for one of your beers:

How about "Sgt. Smitty's ________"?
(fill in the blank)

Smitty 9:34 AM  

I thought you'd like it more than that. It wasn't bad. It was meh, but very drinkable.

Smitty 9:34 AM  

How about "Sgt. Smitty's ________"? Oh, the fun to be had there.

John R. 11:20 AM  

I really liked the 250. But, similar to Bob, WTF do I know?

Smitty 11:43 AM  

It wasn't bad. It was OK, and drinkable. B- on an A - F scale.

B Mac 7:32 PM  

I had it this weekend. I enjoyed it; IMHO it had a creamy mouthfeel reminiscent of a Boddingtons-style pub ale. It could make a solid session beer, and I would certainly drink it again, but I'm with Smitty; I still prefer Guinness Stout.

Soon-to-be-Mrs. BMac, a Guinness Classic fan, enjoyed it as well.

Rickey Henderson 12:55 PM  

Rickey's long been a fan of the Guinness extra stout from the bottle. The canned Guinness never sat right with Rickey.

the infamous roger 2:46 PM  

Guinness IS pretty light to begin with...

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