My Goodness, My Guinness…Is Evolving

Guinness is one of oldest breweries in the world, carried on tap at nearly every tavern you’ve frequented, is highly respected and is synonymous with the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style, Irish stout.  Many are ill informed, jumping to conclusions with statements such as “It is too heavy, like chocolate milk.”  Said (so called) beer critic couldn’t be more wrong.  Guinness Draught (at a 12oz pour, not 16oz can/pint) is only approximately 125 calories (which isn’t many more than a macro, light beer).  Yes, after the pour and beautiful cascade have concluded, it is dark (from the roasted and flaked barley) and creamy, but that comes from something they have perfected via an aluminum can.  Guinness created the widget which houses nitrogen, and carefully releases once you pop the top.  The vast majority of beers receive their carbonation from CO2, while this one pours with nitro.  That’s how they obtain the desirable mouthfeel, with the help of tiny bubbles.  We love this aforementioned brew, but that is not what we’re here to discuss today…

Guinness is trying their hand at a style (to my knowledge) they’ve never previously brewed.  But even without having sampled (it will be hitting stores any day now) Guinness Nitro IPA, I am going to explain why this will not succeed.  The purpose of pouring beer with nitrogen instead of CO2 is to provide a rich body and dull some of the harshness that can reside when roasted/flaked barley is found in said beer’s malt bill.  This marries perfectly with almost all stouts and even porters.  In the last 8-12 months I’ve witnessed less than orthodox craft brew choices featured on the menu as “nitro.”  These offerings I’m speaking of are American pale ales and India pale ales.  I applaud the bar managers for thinking outside the box, but these thoughts must cease.  Each APA/IPA I’ve consumed on nitro, has fallen flat.  Yes, the coveted mouthfeel is abundant, but the hop aroma/flavor is muted, almost nullified.  When imbibing these styles (especially with IPAs) the hops should be in the driver seat.  If you want to try this kind of profile, I suggest two other English pales ales (although I consider them more like English bitters but with nitro) such as Boddington’s Pub Ale or Tetley’s English Ale.  Keep these words of advice in mind the next time you’re out and about.

Here’s to furthering our knowledge and higher beer IQs.  Cheers!