Monday, March 17, 2014

Stout standoff: Guinness vs. Brooklyn Dry Irish

A few weeks ago I noticed Brooklyn Brewery's "Dry Irish Stout" on a shelf at my local supermarket. This piqued my curiosity. "Dry" isn't a word I've associated with stout. I decided to get some and compare it to the stout I, and most people, know best: Guinness. I know there are some of you who, seeing the photo above, are saying, "Why do this at home?" Bottled stout isn't stout as it should be, drawn slowly from a tap. I'll grant you that. My excuse is that I didn't have time to go bar-hopping until I found one that had both kinds on tap. Also, my wife needed some bottled stout to use as a marinade for the corned beef we had with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for our pre-St. Patrick's supper tonight (see below):
I did the tasting this afternoon. The bottles were kept a little below room temperature until I was ready to pour. Here are the results:


Color: very dark brown.

Head: ample and long lasting.

Aroma: malty, with hint of floral.

Taste: black coffee with a hint of caramel; some hop bitterness in the finish.

Brooklyn Dry Irish

Color: dark brown, a slight shade lighter than Guinness.

Head: small, brownish white; collapsed quickly (see photo at top, taken shortly after the Brooklyn stout was poured; the Guinness had been poured earlier). According to the brewery's website, this stout differs from Guinness and other widely marketed Irish stouts in that no nitrogen is added to enhance the head.

Aroma: floral, with a hint of berries.

Taste: initially tart and fruity; no strong coffee or chocolate taste (my wife, trying it without having had Guinness first, said she tasted chocolate; perhaps my palate was skewed by having just tasted Guinness). A pleasant but subdued hop bitterness at the finish.

The verdict: not a real contest, as these are very different beers. I like them both, and they went equally well with our corned beef repast. Brooklyn Brewery also makes a Black Chocolate Stout that might make for a better head to head (as it were) comparison to Guinness.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!