With pubs closing the country over Guinness and Supermarkets selling more and more clever and craftier beers, much like some we have already looked at on The Man Times, Guinness is was starting to lose out some the action in the competition for our taste buds. It has traditionally been an ale enjoyed best in pubs, its canned forms are frankly a shadow of its draught sibling and while there’s the odd bottle of export strength stuff Guinness has always been at home in your local.
Previous attempts to sway more people to its brand Guinness has traditionally gone with funkier ways of getting its drink to you either with its Extra Cold style or its brilliant and yet similarly ridiculous surger. I own a surger but getting your hands on the cans for it in a supermarket or when u need them is borderline impossible, in fact there’s more chance of finding Big Foot than Guinness Surger cans in super markets in the UK.
This time Guinness has elected to go head to head with its craft rivals by releasing 3 beers they say are from old recipes found in brewers diaries. Whether that is or is not the case is somewhat irrelevant, the fact of the matter is that they are launching a new attempt to get into your home where previously they have been unsuccessful. Not since the days of Guinness bitter (also rocking horse poo levels of rareness) have they produced something worthy of home consumption. Don’t get me wrong the foreign extra stuff and the extra stout is all very well and good but it always felt a bit half-hearted.
With the launch of their American made blonde beer to attack the American market, Guinness is making a concerted effort to diversify its portfolio and attack several market sectors it would previously leave alone. When we get our mits on some of that we’ll give it a damned good look!
Guinness Dublin Porter
We start by looking at Dublin Porter. This lives squarely in Guinness’s wheel house, and snuggles up nicely next to its existing range. This dark colored beer strangely resembles other Guinness products but at 3.8% its weaker than its draught counter part but its also a little sweeter and a little more refreshing. There are some decent coffee notes and some burnt toffee flavorings with it and all in all its pretty drinkable. For a beer that is supposed to be based on a historic recipe it doesn’t seem to have the strength some older ales had, typically beers in in the 18th and 19th century were pretty strong so I don’t think giving this beer a bit more welly would have hurt it too much, if anything it would have added to its authenticity.
All in all this isn’t a bad beer at all, it’s weak strength as much today with the modern world and modern demand as consumers become more educated about their beers and also at 3.8% you will be able to enjoy one and still drive under current rules, so in that regard Dublin porter fills a nice place in the Guinness range. On the other hand its reduced strength leaves it a little wanting in richness department and its a touch on the watery side. This is is a straight down the middle boring beer, nothing great but not awful.
Guinness West Indies Porter
Remaining in the Guinness wheel house Guinness West Indies porter is another dark beer that however much we try and dress it up doesn’t differ to wildly from other Guinness products. Apparently this is based on a recipe from 1801 for a porter that as actually shipped to West India rather than the West Indies. That porter would go on to become Guinness Foreign Extra Stout which I’m quite the fan of so if this is a return to the roots of that particular drink with an older recipe then who am I to argue with an attempt to re-visit a touch of history.
At 6.8% the West Indies porter is, quite obviously more powerful than the Dublin porter and it benefits from that extra strength. Naturally you wont be driving after drinking it but this stuff but the extra strength gives it a nicer mouth feel. It has a complex and hoppy feel flavour profile with toffee bitterness and chocolate notes, similar flavors to the Dublin porter but richer and more well rounded and its better for it. It Pours jet black, what you’d expect when you pour a Guinness and you get those chocolatey and coffee notes on the nose nice and early. This is a much better beer than the Dublin Porter, we highly recommend it.
Guinness Golden Ale
This is Guinness’s real departure from their wheel house and when I heard Guinness had made a golden ale I was immediately suspicious, so I tried this beer with a measure of trepidation. This being their attempt to try and access more of a market than just the black stuff. This is made with an Irish barley and the “finest hopes”, their words not mine to produce what they claim is a well balanced golden ale.
What will immediately catch your eye is that this is not a golden ale, its actually an amber colour so I was a bit taken aback even before I came to tasting it. To go with the initial disappointment of getting something other than what I was expecting the disappointment was compounded when it came to tasting the stuff. Its pretty plain, quite watery with some metallic under tones and the biscuit flavours they speak of are fair to no existent. The head is pretty weak, doesn’t have much hoppyness to it and malts are pretty mild. If you like your Golden Ale then stay well clear of this because firstly it isn’t one, the only thing I can think is that its golden compared to Guinness but by that token most things are.