Friday, 10 October 2014

Dublin Porter



A cigarette falls from a woman’s lips, her eyes wide in shock. Birds fly from the trees en masse, turning the sky black. Motorway traffic grinds to a halt as dazed commuters abandon their cars. A cat is bored.

Yes, friends. Guinness have released two new beers and I am just as surprised as you.

The brewing powerhouse, with fiercely brand-loyal followers (many of whom drink the black stuff and only the black stuff) has rolled out a pair of new brews even though it really doesn’t have to because Guinness Draught is so popular it’s probably being exported on the down-low to other planets. Credit where it’s due, then.

Guinness Dublin Porter and West Indies Porter are both based on brewers notes from the Guinness diaries, dating back to 1796 and 1801 respectively, and Dublin Porter is first up, with my bottle of West Indies Porter waiting in the wings for next week.

Click. Hiss. Off comes the cap and a quick inhale from the open neck becomes a long drag, with a pleasant (if mild) scent of chocolate with notes of crispness and cleanliness rising up. So far, so good. And indeed so far, so Guinness.

Decanted into a glass we see Dublin Porter is a standard Guinness noir; worn leather topped with the tiniest head of white pearl bubbles that almost instantly dissipates to a thin white ring around the circumference of the glass, with a little archipelago of dying bubbles floating in the centre.

The first taste is thin bodied and the carbonation, which looks quite weak in the glass, comes on surprisingly strong once Dublin Porter gets past the teeth. The taste of roasted malt and vaguely smoked chocolate are evident, both wearing their St Patrick’s Day 2011 through 2014 Guinness wristbands, and in the aftertaste there’s a dessicating crackle of cigarette smoke barely detectable.

After a few mouthfuls the last of the head has withered and faded, leaving what could be mistaken for a glass of flat Coca-Cola on your correspondent’s table. This doesn’t last long, however, because Guinness Dublin Porter is easily drinkable. Even taking time over one’s sole review bottle this porter goes down fast and the glass empties all too quickly.

A nutty taste builds in the last couple of mouthfuls, and the final slug of Guiness Dublin Porter leaves an aftertaste that lingers with just the right amount of adhesive tack on the senses and the mouth roof.

And yes, Guinness Dublin Porter tastes Guinnessy. Shocking, right? Get me the Taoiseach on the phone right now because he’s got some explaining to do.

Guinness Dublin Porter has the expectable Guinnessy taste notes but there’s a pleasantly rough aspect to its flavour, rough as in unfinished, unvarnished, as opposed to abrasive. Light and mild, and- I hate to roll this word out- weak for a porter, it is nonetheless a tasty and refreshing beer; a pleasant optional detour from the Guinness trail, at supermarket prices.

Next week I’ll be drinking its stronger counterpart, West Indies Porter, weighing in at 6.0%. Until then you can read my colleague Matt’s opinions on both beers.

And isn’t it pretty cool that I managed to write a whole review of a Guinness beer without using the phrase “good things come to those who wait?”

Ah, shit.

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