Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DRANK: Guinness Black Lager, Guinness Ltd., Dublin, Ireland - BOTTLE

Ya' know when you go to a concert and the band keeps playing stuff from their new CD instead of the stuff you want to hear from their old album (at 37, I'm old enough to use CD and album interchangeably.) Guinness Black Lager is the stuff from the new CD. It's not bad, it's just not what your used to.

Nice buckets
Reviewers on Both Ratebeer and Beer Advocate have been, in my estimation, a tad harsh to this new comer—giving it a "C" on BA and an overall score of 35, on Ratebeer. While that seems a little tough, I can't lay all the blame on those sites and their reviews. Guinness may have made a slight miscalculation with this turn of label copy:
...cold-brewed with roasted barley to deliver the refreshing taste of lager with the unique character of Guinness.
It's that last little bit, that convolutes everything.
 ...with the unique character of Guinness.
I actually like it, (admittedly, I didn't think I would) but I don't think it has that much "Guinness" character. Yes, it's black and yes it's brewed with roasted barley. That's about where the similarity ends. First off, the serving suggestion is to drink it cold. Cold and flavor—they don't play so well together, but who am I to argue? So, out of the fridge and into a 0.4 mL glass, it went. It's black, there's no denying that, with those token ruby highlights; it's got that dense, coffee-colored head (although this one is a bit fizzier than any of the stout versions). It has that classic dark lager aroma, with a little bit of roastiness thrown in as well. Taste-wise, it reminded me more of Matt Brewing Company's, Saranac Black Forest, rather than Guinness. It's medium bodied with a nutty, slightly scorched note. It's a bit bready with a rasiny dark fruit tartness. It has a nice drying bitterness and a decidedly crisp edge to it. It's not heavy—not that heaviness is a bad thing—but I think saying, "...with the unique character of Guinness" bring-up a certain preconception. This beer is not Guinness, at least not the Guinness your expecting. It's not a Stout—more of a riffed on Schwarzbier—so don't expect stoutness. If you can look past that, I think you'll find a beer that brings something fairly unique to the table.

Think of Guinness Black Lager this way, Exile on Main Street, Led Zeppelin IV, Thriller, Blonde on Blonde, London Calling, Pet Dreams, and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back were all the "new" stuff at one time, too. 

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