St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday this year, though the celebrations began the Saturday before. To help ring in the Wearin’ of the Green, Dublin-based Guinness has introduced two “experimental” brand extensions (an IPA and a Porter), along with festive limited-edition artwork for its traditional stout.
The brand has been expanding its portfolio beyond the iconic inky black stout for several years now, but this is the first time Guinness Dublin Porter and Guinness West Indies Porter have landed on American soil. Though these are new releases developed by an in-house staff of brewers dubbed The Brewers Project, the company claims the recipes are more than 200 years old, located in the company’s own brewing books.
Guinness Dublin Porter dates to 1796 and is considered an Irish take on the traditional London Porter. smokey, sweet and smooth, the beer is easy to drink, yet rich and earthy with a toasted caramel note to finish. I could drink this all day, outside paired with a good sausage, ham and cheese sandwich or fresh-off-the-grill burger. Perfect at lunchtime or after work, it’s a nice middle-ground between too-light lagers and too-heavy stouts and IPAs
Guinness West Indies Porter was developed in 1801 and reflected the trend to add extra hops to beer to aid in preservation during long-distance shipping (in this case to the West Indies). It’s the genesis of what we now call IPAs. The beer is as dark as a Guinness Stout, but where the latter is nutty and rich with chocolate and caramel notes, the West Indies Porter trends more bitter, but with overtones of lavender and a caramel-honey. According to the company this beer predates the brand’s Foreign Extra Stout, found in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Last fall, the company also released Guinness Nitro IPA, which so far has been especially successful. Brewers blend traditional CO2 with nitrogen to create a mid-range, hop-forward beer with the character and nuttiness of a classic Guinness Stout. Three hop varieties are brought together to add notes of citrus and unctuous floral notes, while the nitrogenated gas helps balance and mellow sharp notes from the extra hops and provide the “surge and settle” head Guinness Draught is known for.
In addition to the new expressions, Guinness also released limited edition cans of Guinness Draught featuring images of toucans flying in with pints of stout carried on their beaks. The image hearkens back to a Guinness ad campaign from the 1930s with art by John Gilroy. Different exotic animals were featured in the campaign, with slogans like “Lovely Day for a Guinness” and “My Goodness, My Guinness.” This time around, they feature the slogan “Smile, Your Guinness is Here.”
Though there will be no shortage of spots in which to indulge in a pint or two this St. Patrick’s Day, consider heading on over to Zeppelin Hall Biergarten, where all week the popular Jersey City beer garden (indoor and outdoor) has been celebrating with a barbecue (they’re even serving bratwurst cooked in Guinness), and live music from Irish band The Parnell Trio. If Guinness doesn’t offer what you crave, Zeppelin carries over 100 different beers in cans, bottles and on tap. The bar is an easy ferry trip from Manhattan, a couple of blocks from the water.