It’s been years since I last drank a Guinness, in part because I never liked drinking them outside of Ireland. But the other night, as, ahem, research for my Rucksack Universe stories, my wife and I split a bottle of Guinness. It reignited not only my love of stout overall, but my particular appreciation for a flagship example of the style.
Some people slag Guinness. It’s old man’s beer. Or it’s made by a massive company and available worldwide. Wah.
Guinness is good beer. Granted, it’s always at its best in Ireland. But just because something tastes its best closest to home, doesn’t mean it’s crap anywhere else.
When my wife and I cracked open our Guinness, we first breathed in the aromas of the stout. Both of us got wide-eyed, which continued as the beer poured. “There’s a reason this beer is so popular,” she said.
“I’ve missed it,” I replied.
And I am biased. In 2000 I briefly lived in Ireland, and I certainly got spoiled drinking the black gold closest to its main source. Outside of Ireland, I’ve had the occasional disappointing pint. Ultimately, though, the Guinness remains good.
Sharing that Guinness with my wife, we both enjoyed the tang and bitterness of one of the world’s most well-known and beloved beers. It reconnected us with hundreds of years of brewing tradition. It took my imagination closer to what it takes to create a world-class beer that figures in to all my stories.
That Guinness was just a damn fine, smooth beer to relax with, and share fine company with. When a beer does all that, it’s done exactly what a good beer is supposed to do.