Guinness’ latest experiment hit the shelves of O’Brien’s in Athlone last week and I had read a lot about it and so had to try it for myself. I drafted in my buddy Dec The Barber, a dyed in the wool stout drinker from Dublin for his opinion as a counterpoint to my own beer snobbery.
He thought the Dublin Porter was nice but lacked bite. I’d be inclined to agree, I’d consider it fairly bland and inoffensive.
Next up we had the West Indies Porter. Dec reckoned it had the bite lacking in the Dublin Porter and that it had pleasant toffee notes and a great aftertaste. I have to say I quite liked it as well and would be happy enough to drink it again, so much for a counterpoint, eh?
Just to round it out to a trio I had also picked up a pair of bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. Declan said it was nice but that the West Indies was the business.
Another friend of mine, Ian 11pm Somewhere dubbed these beers ‘Liquid Lies’ , one of the problems being that this pair of beers could be seen as Guinness trying to win back some of the market share they’ve lost to ‘craft beer’. When I spoke with Liam, head brewer of St Mel’s Brewing a couple of weeks ago he reckoned that Guinness were just slowly reacting to the revolutionary wave of new independent breweries in Ireland. Another problem is the fact that the label notes on both bottles reference recipes over 200 years old yet they’re made with liquid hops which flies in the face of traditional or craft brewing methods. Try them for yourself, two good beers for comparison would be St Mel’s Raisin and Oatmeal Stout and Dungarvan’s Coffee and Oatmeal Stout. Now there’s an enjoyable way to spend a miserable Winter evening by the fire. I’ll leave the last word to Declan, I was speaking with him briefly today and he said, ‘That West Indies Porter is the bollocks!’ Sláinte!