Tasting The New Beers At A Special Event for Guinness Aficionados
I drove an hour for a beer.
I’m not the first person to do such a thing, and I most certainly won’t be the last.
And actually it turned out to be three beers. Time well spent.
The occasion was a special Guinness event to learn a bit about the product and the process of making and pouring it, and also to introduce true Guinness enthusiasts to two new products, Extra Stout and Black Lager. These events, called “behind the gates of the famous St. James’ Gate Brewery” are being held around the country. They are intimate settings of about 50 people who get special invitations, and they are comprised mainly of people with a real affection for Guinness.
I attended one on a Friday night in Culver City, CA. This should have been about a 20-minute journey from my place in Manhattan Beach, but due to a GPS error providing me with two locations of identical addresses – naturally, I initially chose the wrong one – it took a full hour to find the place. Once I arrived, I couldn’t get a Guinness in my hands fast enough.
Now let me state now that I am not one of those “Guinness only” guys. I like it and I’ll drink it on occasion, but I don’t seek it out like a friend of mine who, while in Vegas, made repeated trips to a casino clear across the street because the casino we were in did not have it. I drove an hour for a Guinness; this guy would walk an hour for a Guinness.
He would have loved this event, but could not make it that night. It’s probably good, because there was Guinness everywhere and I would have had to drag him out of the place by his hair, like my dad used to do to me in order to get me out of bed to go to school.
Me? I prefer lagers.
Beyond the beer, there was a brief presentation of Guinness and a history of it, as well. If this sounds slightly unstimulating, it wasn’t, for it was conducted by a comedian who frequents New York comedy clubs, Dan Soder. This guy could make a knitting museum tour funny.
“Arthur Guinness was 28 and signed a 9,000-year lease on a building,” he said. “I’m 27 and can’t even sign a cell phone contract.”
Fortunately, he quit with the quips when we were handed 10-ounce glasses of the two new beers, for all wanted to be drinking instead of laughing when tasting them. Here’s a brief description of each:
Extra Stout. Dark and rich, as you would expect, with a taste of chocolate. Definitely a sipping beer for cold days.
Black Lager. Smooth. Very smooth, in fact. It’s hard to believe by looking at its dark color, but it has somewhat of a light taste. It’s a lager with flavor but hardly overwhelming to any of the senses. I won’t hesitate to order it in a bar.
The event lasted but an hour, but for anyone that wanted to join the group later, they posted their bar whereabouts for later in the evening.
The Guinness Tour also hit San Francisco and Denver with others scheduled for Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
That’s enough to raise a pint to cheer.