What’s left to be said about Guinness that hasn’t already been said? A beer so iconic, it is to Ireland what the Opera House is to Sydney, or the Big Merino is to Goulburn. But what does Guinness taste like?
Firstly, it should be noted that I consumed this from the can at home, not in an 18th century pub nestled in the rolling hills of County Cork, sat by an open fireplace with a man playing Gaelic music in the corner. But a can of Guinness is in itself unique – inside is a plastic widget which helps release oxygen when the can is opened. When poured into a glass, this helps to form the black body of beer and thick creamy head at the top which is so recognisable.
Guinness doesn’t have a strong smell. If anything, you pick up subtle hints of coffee. On the tongue it has a strong malty taste, with traces of coffee and cookie mixed in. However, getting to these flavours can be hard, owing to the fact the head is so thick – it takes a solid gulp to get through to the liquid underneath. This head maintains this consistency most of the way down the glass unlike many other beers, where it will dissipate. As you swallow, bitter coffee flavours come to the fore, although it is very smooth to drink. Overall, I would put this in the “okay” category – it isn’t exactly bursting with flavours, but does go down smoothly all the same.
Whilst Guinness doesn’t rank highly on my list of beers, it has developed a brand and reputation which has to be admired. And whilst I’m not generally a stout drinker, one day each year I’ll tip my hat to my Irish ancestry, and pump some money into the Irish economy to commemorate St Patrick, who’s morphed from the patron saint of Ireland to a sort of one-day-a-year boozing demi-god.
Drunk: from the can