Those guys at Guinness just can’t sit still. Fresh after releasing two new brews from their St James’s Gate Brewer’s Project, comes yet another Guinness drink. Hold on to your hats though, because this Guinness isn’t more of the black stuff. In a twist as dramatic as Darth Vader declaring he is Luke’s father [spoilers], this new drink is actually the Guinness Golden Ale. So if you’re a fan of Guinness, but maybe had a bit too much of the dark variety on St Patrick’s Day, then this is definitely something for you.
Not so long ago, we met up with Peter Simpson, who had been working on the West Indies Porter and Dublin Porter, and after that, he had his image plastered all over the London Underground and on the Guinness Adverts and in the process became an unlikely heartthrob. It is actually a wonderful thought, that the employees of Guinness are the focal point, from creating and brewing all the way up to being the stars of their own advert. This speaks volume about the creative ethos at Guinness, and all of that feeds into the story of the new Guinness Golden Ale.
It is a new dawn for beer, a revolution of sorts, where more and more people are opening their minds and mouths to new beers and craft brews and different beer experiences. With that in mind, the Brewer’s Project are dragging Guinness into the modern sphere for beer. First were the porters, but now the Golden Ale. The Golden Ale gives beer drinkers a chance to dip their toes into the premier ale market, without having to worry too much about all those strange brands behind the bar – something new yet oddly familiar.
The Guinness Golden Ale, like all Guinness in the UK, is brewed in Dublin. This means that it is made with some fine local Irish barley, hops, a handpicked amber malt that combine to give the beverage that distinctive titular golden hue. The yeast that is doing all the work is the Guinness unique own strain. Our experience of the Guinness Golden Ale is overwhelmingly positive. Although we went in sceptical of a departure from their dark roots, we think their Golden Ale is a great step into the premium ale marketplace.
Entirely accessible, the Golden Ale itself isn’t particularly weighty, at only 4.5%, with the end result being a lighter flavour and a drink that’s easier to spend hours drinking. It is impossible to try and describe the flavour of the Golden Ale without several references to the intense malty flavour that dominates the drink. That aromatic, biscuity taste is easily the most dominant, and it has an excellent balance between the bitter and sweet which really brings it from the front of the mouth down the throat with every sip. Another interesting aspect is the light hoppy aroma, and hoppy flavours that provide depth to that dominant malt. Its all well and good you reading this description, but we really recommend picking up a bottle to see for yourself.
We were invited to the launch event for the Guinness Golden Ale, and whilst there we thought we’d find out a bit more about the reasons why Guinness are taking a bit of a dramatic step away from what people know and love, into the congested premium ale marketplace, and why now of all times? After all, Guinness aren’t strangers to innovation, with a long list of different ventures including the established Guinness Bitter. In the 90s produced a similar types of craft beer from St James’s Gate, which reportedly never made it far from the brewery. Indeed, whilst it may seem the Golden Ale is a step away from what many people know and love about the iconic Guinness brand, isn’t altogether something new at all.
The pilot brewery housing the Brewer’s Project has seen a lot of ins and outs over the past few decades. Immediately prior to the Golden Ale was another of Peter’s beers, which is a slight variant of the beer specifically tailored to the Irish market called Hop House 13. But why make an ale? Peter’s roots go back to England, and he has loved drinking Cornish ales in the past, so with the booming market for premium ales, the great Guinness brand, and the pilot brewery at his disposal, it seemed the perfect sum to start trialling and testing what has eventually come out as the rather delicious Guinness Golden Ale.
Take our word for it, this is a great step for Guinness. Go and try it for yourself and let us know what you think.