Thus begins the Of Monks and Malts Irish Week!
What is the quintessential Irish stout?
If you are well versed in your beer, you might say Beamish or Murphy's, but Guinness is by far the most well known Irish stout.
Let me lead off with one of my biggest beer pet peeves:
Guinness is NOT a meal in a glass. Not by a longshot. Drink an imperial stout, then a Guinness and you will think you are drinking water. If you don't believe me, try it (although if you DO think that Guinness is a meal in a glass, good luck getting through an imperial stout).
Guinness has a smooth mouthfeel, usually described as velvety, which is actually a pretty accurate description. It is a really light-bodied beer that goes down easy. This is why Guinness can be used in "Irish Car Bombs". If you haven't had an Irish Car Bomb, I would suggest it. The recipe is as follows:
3/4 Pint of Guinness
1 shot Bailey's
Drop the shot into the pint and chug (if you don't chug, you will wind up sipping your way through curds of the Bailey's). Simple as that. Another variation of the recipe calls for 1/2 shot of Bailey's and 1/2 shot of Jameson, but the above recipe is what I have always done. It tastes like chocolate milk. Trust me, it should be on your St. Patrick's Day To-Do list. I also recently did one where a bit of Whitetail Whiskey was used. This made it taste like caramel. Just something to think about.
Warning: I am about 95% sure that this is only an American thing. If you are in a foreign country and you want an Irish Car Bomb, do the easy thing and ask for a pint of Guinness and a shot of Bailey's (then drink half of your beer before doing the bomb).
Guinness is also one of the main ingredients in Black and Tans, as well as Half and Halfs. A black and tan is 1/2 pint Guinness mixed with 1/2 pint English pale ale (usually Bass). A half and half is 1/2 pint Guinness mixed with 1/2 pint lager (generally Harp). The mixing of the two gives a cool gradient of darkness within the beer. It also maintains the smooth taste of the Guinness and makes the beer somehow even a little more light bodied. Order one if you are interested, they look cool too! If the bar is crowded, I wouldn't suggest it though. It is a little more time consuming than a standard draft beer.
Half and Half
What does it say to you about at beer if it is so frequently mixed with other things? I'm not saying it's a bad beer, its just not nearly as complex as people seem to think. All I know is that there is no way I would ever mix my favorite beers with anything. It is just a smooth and drinkable beer. Great for large quantities. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send me cool photos too, if you like.