Friday, December 4, 2015

Guinness Nitro IPA

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20Chad9976 (1507) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 4, 2015
Guinness is a brewery known around the world for making one type of beer: stout. Now that they have to compete with the American[-inspired] craft segment, they’re trying their hand at a very American style: the IPA. In classic Guinness fashion they’ve included a nitrogen widget in the can which I think does more harm than good as it stymies the hops from doing their jobs. Still, this is an easy-drinking beer; though it’s probably better considered a pale ale than IPA. 

I poured an 11.2oz can into a red wine glass. It was canned on 8/28/15 and cost $2.29 ($0.20 per ounce).

Appearance: Very dark copper/borderline magenta hue. Since there’s a nitrogen widget it of course has the classic cascading bubbles effect and a milky body which eventually clarifies and leaves a finger-width of bright white froth. It of course leaves plenty of soupy lacing.

Smell: A nice flower bouquet; clean with a bit of a citrus component as well. I detect some English-style malts, too.

Taste: Since so few packaged beers come with nitrogen widgets, there’s definitely a placebo factor of sorts when drinking a beer that uses one. Upon my first taste of Guinness Nitro IPA I was immediately reminded of some British brews like Bass, Tetley’s and Boddington’s. There’s virtually no discernible flavor throughout the first half as all I taste is cream from the nitro-infused froth. Once it begins to descend, the hops emerge in the form of floral and citrusy notes with a mild bitterness (it is only 44 IBUs, after all). A bit of pine or resin character in the immediate aftertaste. I don’t get much in the way of malt distinctiveness, though. Perhaps a bit of toast and marmalade, but it’s quite mild. Thankfully, there’s nothing off-putting or obvious flaws. I could see this being an excellent gateway IPA for the non-craft crowd.

Drinkability: As the name clearly indicates, this is an IPA on nitrogen which means a creamy texture and super smooth finish. However, at 5.8% ABV, I’d expect a little more flavor than what’s here. Not that Guinness Nitro IPA is really sessionable, though; nor is it something to match up with food. Approach it as a pub-style pale ale and you’ll be fine.

RATING: 6/10

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