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“My favorite food from my homeland is Guinness. My second choice in Guinness. My third choice – would have to be Guinness.”
– Peter O’Toole
Photos by Ben Wilson
Article by Meagan Wilson
South Carolina — On October 16th, 1817, the first barrels of Guinness arrived in America. That was the year they started brewing with Black Patent Malt, the roasted barley that gives Guinness Stout its characteristic flavor. Monday, October 16th, 2017, marks the 200th anniversary of Guinness coming to the United States. Naturally, this is a perfect opportunity to release a special edition beer. That’s exactly what the folks at Guinness are doing.
According to Guinness, the 200th Anniversary Export Stout is “Based on the Guinness brewing logs of 1817,” and is intended to replicate that original Black Patent stout as closely as possible. What that means for us lucky ducks, is a dark, smooth, viscous, 6.0% ABV beer with deep ruby highlights (that you need good light to see). Like many of their other limited-edition brews, it comes in an 11.2% glass bottle. It’s not nitrogenated, and since I poured it fairly carefully, we didn’t see much of a head on it.
If you’re expecting this guy to taste like Guinness Draught, don’t. It’s sweeter, thicker and smoother, with toffee and caramel notes that provide a delicious counterpoint to the coffee and chocolate notes you get from the Black Patent. As fellow reviewer Ami Melaine put it, “It doesn’t come up and…punch you in the nose, the way Guinness usually would.”
The mouth feel is much more syrupy—almost velvety—than its more well-known cousin, dry Irish stout. Ben noted that, “you can actually taste the grain,” in the 200th Anniversary Export Stout.
As it happens, Export Stout is its own style, and a fairly broad one. Excepting this new edition, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and Lion Stout are probably the most notable examples of the style, and are quite different from each other. Both are also stronger than the 200th Anniversary Export Stout.
Guinness recommends drinking it “straight from the bottle” or in a “Guinness Goblet Glass.” Since my bar ware does not currently include those, we used sampling glasses from a whiskey distillery. As a side note, small whiskey glasses are a favorite for sampling beer, as the shape intensifies the nose and enhances the flavor.
Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout is a damned fine beer. It’ll be available nationwide, starting this month. The materials I received indicate that it’ll be packaged in 6-packs, and in the “200 Years of Stout in America” 12-pack. You should also keep an eye out for the limited-edition Guinness Draught can, with the iconic toucans flying by Mt. Rushmore.
Guinness provides a handy “Where to Buy” page, so you can search for their beer, near you. My sample was kindly provided to me, so I could write this review. And now, to go find my own six-pack.