After knocking back the standard Guinness Draught and the special Guinness Extra Stout I was excited to finally get a chance to try the Foreign Extra Stout. The Foreign Extra Stout is the highest rated Guinness product on RateBeer.com and is otherwise widely regarded as their best product. This is one of the oldest variants of Guinness available and is basically their extra stout with a kicked up level of hops for export, quite like how Pale Ale became India Pale Ale. I’m pretty psyched for this beer!
Guinness doesn’t make many styles of beer, at least compared to most American craft Brewers. Making just the Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout regularly and then a small spattering of others which are mostly one offs. I wasn’t hugely impressed by the Draught, it’s a decent beer but not a good or great beer. I’ve heard amazing things about the Foreign Extra Stout but tonight I’m drinking the Extra Stout.
The Extra Stout has an interesting story behind it. Seems this is the original recipe for what we now think of as Guinness, according to Wikipedia the beer was toned down in the 70s to make it more marketable. That is why this same beer is the called Guinness Original across the pond. The other interesting, and far more important, thing is that this is brewed in Canada. That much is known from the label on the bottle, the following is a bit of varying info from the Internet. According to some sites Guinness exports the unfermented wort from Ireland to Canada to be brewed there. While that is all fun to know drinking is better!
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While I was at the store picking up the Guinness Draught for Monday’s review (here) I noticed another can of Irish stout that I wasn’t familiar with. That can is Murphy’s Irish Stout, usually just referred to as Murphy’s and is what I’ll be drinking tonight. Murphy’s has always been a second runner up to Guinness in sales but lets see how it compares in taste.
The state of Guinness in America has always surprised me a bit. In a nation of fizzy, yellow, and generally flavorless beer many bars have on tap this black as night, creamy, and semi-flavorful beer. Something I’m quite glad about. I’m no Guinness-fanatic, even though I’m mostly Irish, but I do prefer it over the fizzy yellow stuff. If you’ve never had a Guinness can or bottle, or if you’ve had and pondered what that clinky sound is, allow me to educate you on the widget. Nitrogen is a way of dispensing beer and is what helps make Guinness on tap so nice and creamy. To achieve that in a can/bottle they decided to create a “widget” basically a little nitrogen container that releases it’s nitrogen when you crack open the beer. Next time you open one of these listen closely and you’ll hear it go off. Widget or not I’m ready to drink.