When you read the name ‘Guinness’ one thing springs to mind – Irish Stout. That’s what the Dublin Brewery is famous for, and as you may have already read here at The Brewclub, they brew a range ‘Guinness Stout’ including recreations of vintage brews from ‘The Brewers Project’ within the St James’ Gate brewery.
In the past Guinness has also brewed lager, ‘Harp’ lager was a popular brew in the sixties, brewed initially at Dundalk close to the border with Northern Ireland. I understand that it’s still available in the United States.
Interestingly, Harp Lager takes its name from the Irish harp symbol that has been present on all bottled Guinness since they registered it as a trademark in 1876.
When the Republic of Ireland gained independence from Britain in 1922 they sought to use the harp as an official state emblem, but were forced to reverse their ‘official’ harp to differentiate it from the Guinness harp.
To this day Guinness harp always appears with its straight edge to the left, and the official ‘Government’ harp has its straight edge to the right.
I digress, but it’s amazing the trivia you pick up when you visit the Guinness brewery in Dublin.
Given the recent popularity of golden ales, it was perhaps inevitable that the Guinness Brewers Project would turn their attention to producing a Golden Ale, and that’s what I’ll be tasting on your behalf.
It’s a dirty job.
Well, the first thing that’s apparent is that it’s probably the darkest ‘golden’ ale I’ve ever poured. Maybe this is what constitutes ‘gold’ if you’re experience is brewing stouts and porters, but if I bought my missus some jewellery this colour and told her it was gold? I’d be sleeping in the spare room!
There’s no nose to speak of, just a musty malty, no trace of hops sort of… nothing really.
And the flavour is a malty, with very little hop bite. I checked the ‘best before date’ and these bottles were seven months ‘in date’ as I’m conscious that the delicate hop oils are the first to degrade, but there’s no excuse.
Maybe the Brewers at Guinness’ ‘Brewers Project’ should try a few of those and try again, maybe investing in some (admittedly expensive) aromatic hops.
It’s shame; given the quality of the previous brews coming out of the Brewers’ Project this is a real disappointment. I quite enjoyed their ‘Hop House 13’ lager while I was in Dublin, so I know then can do it, they just haven’t with this.