Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Guinness Difference

I just got back from a business trip to Dublin, Ireland.  While there, I had the pleasure to enjoy a vast quantity of Guinness.  I've always heard people say that the Guinness in Ireland is so much better than what we get here in the States.  I would have to agree wholeheartedly.  I think there are several reasons for this.  First, the Guinness in Ireland is simply fresher, but I'm not sure that alone is sufficient.  I also heard (no idea if this is true) that the Guinness brewed for export to the U.S. is brewed in Nigeria.  If so, that changes two important ingredients (this applies no matter where it is brewed, except in Ireland).  First, the water source will be different.  Being a home brewer myself, the mineral content of the water can have a direct affect on taste.  Second, the Guinness brewed in Ireland is all brewed with Irish hops.  I suspect that the hops used in Nigeria (or whatever) would be imported from Europe and is simply not the same.

After having sampled the Ireland Guinness, I did have a Guinness (or three) at my local bar last night.  It was clearly inferior to the Ireland Guinness, but even then, the Guinness here is still a damn good beer.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Insomnia Beer

I am a beer snob.  I don't drink any beer that has "light" in its name.  I don't drink beer out of a can.  I don't drink beer out of a bottle that has a twist cap.  I like trying foreign beers and I like trying regional and local beers when I travel.  One of my favorite beers is Four Peaks Kiltlifter.  It was my regular beer of choice at one of the bars I frequent.  During the first couple of months when I started to frequent this bar, I started having bouts of insomnia.  I eventually narrowed it down to the nights when I had been to the bar, and narrowed it down even further to the beer itself.  I changed beers for a few weeks and the insomnia went away.  This was very disappointing, but ultimately necessary.  Unfortunately, I need to add another beer to my insomnia beer list.  Smithwick's.  I've had a few while visiting Ireland and had very poor nights of sleep.  The good news is that if I stick to just Guinness, then no problems.  Yay!  Fortunately, I have a short list of favorite beers that don't give me insomnia.