Friday, September 7, 2007

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Once again, I have new blog entries on tap (to Adam: pun intended) for you to enjoy, and it's actually one I wrote tonight. After I wrote those two entries on my notebook on vacation, I got so busy with work and wedding wrap-ups (thank you notes suck to write, by the way) that The Beerocrat fell by the wayside for a little bit. But I'm back, and I have lots of beer in my fridge just begging for a drink. I thought I'd start off with a beer that I bought in Jamaica specifically for this blog.

As my wife and I were traveling Jamaica admiring the striking tropical scenery, I was also keeping my eye out for some interesting beers that they don't have in the states. One that I remember from one of my favorite beer books, Beers of the World by David Kenning, was Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, specifically brewed for Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. So naturally, I was on the lookout for this elusive beer. Finally, on our last day there, we stopped to eat at a Red Stripe brewpub in the international terminal of Montego Bay's international airport, I saw a few bottles of it behind the bar. After telling the bartender that I wanted a cold unopened bottle (to which he gave me a quizzical expression), I had a 275 mL bottle in hand ready to import back into the states.

Now you may be wondering, why does the Caribbean (and Africa and Asia) need a foreign extra stout. The answer is borne out of the same dilemma that gave birth to the India Pale Ale. According to Guinness, it is brewed with extra hops so that it can enjoy an increased shelf life in warmer climates, which include the three areas I mentioned. As a consequence, it also gives the beer a unique kick for a stout while still retaining that distinctive Guinness look and taste. It was first brewed in Dublin and first exported in 1802. Since the 1960s, it has been locally brewed in those warmer climates, including Jamaica, and has gone on to be ridiculously popular; 40% of all Guinness worldwide is the Foreign Extra Stout. Unlike bottles of Guinness Draught, it does not have The Widget in the bottle. (Source; you need to enter your birthday and location to enter the site.)

Here are the stats:

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
BREWERY: Guinness Ltd., Dublin, Ireland (mine was brewed locally by Desnoes and Geddes, Kingston, Jamaica)
ABV: 6.5% (Beers of the World says 7.5%)
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Sausages and mashed potatoes

These stats come from a combination of Beers of the World, the Guinness website (link above), and what it says on the bottle. More info may come from a phone call to a Guinness brewery in the states.

As it is a trademark of Guinness beers, the first thing I noticed was the fact that the head took up most of the glass when I first poured it. It was a nice, fluffy, chocolate-tan head where the bubbles were moving downwards...unlike other beers I've had. The foam also had a habit of staying for a really long time; looking at my glass now, I see that the head has finally reformed into those last few delectable drops. The aroma of the beer was a combination of character and a whiff of chocolate that is very pleasing to the nose. The beer itself had Guinness' trademark solid black color and a nice velvety flavor to it with a chocolatey coffee taste that was a little bit more bitter than the usual stout (due to the extra hops added for the climate). The finish was like a liquefied dark chocolate combined with hops and just a touch of sweetness.

In short, I'm glad that this bottle survived the journey from Jamaica back to Reno. I only wish I could pick this up at my local store. Oh well, I have my bottle of regular Guinness Extra Stout waiting for me soon, so I guess I can manage. For now.


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