A truly unique beer, Guinness is one of the most popular ale brands internationally and has the years under its belt to support its reputation, celebrating its 250th birthday this year. Founder Arthur Guinness has left a remarkable legacy. Arthur, from Dublin, Ireland, created the stout taste with the use of roasted barley. The roasted barley is essentially what gives the beer its color and somewhat burnt aftertaste, but there are also yeast, hops, and isinglass finings, which are made from the swim-bladders of fish.
While the finings were enough to give scientists and critics something to investigate, in the early 1900s the stout was investigated for its unusually dark color. Obviously, nothing suspicious was found, and although the stout appears black, it is actually a deep ruby red as a result of the roasted barley. It’s similar to coffee in that the roasting of the coffee beans or barley creates this dark color.
When I took my first sip of the stout ale, the initial taste seemed similar to my normal choice of watered-down carbon dioxide beers. However, the aftertaste was an entirely new experience once it set in. I instantaneously thought I had just eaten a large piece of yeasty bread with a glass of wine. The taste made me feel as if I were receiving communion. Maybe this is because it is a truly religious experience, or maybe it was just the roasted barley, yeast, and creamy consistency that registered this in my mind.
Guinness is referred to by some as a “meal in a glass.” After my first bottle I certainly felt like I had just finished a complete meal. Yet the stout ale has only 198 calories, which is fewer than most juices, sodas, and non-light beers, thus proving that indulging your Guinness itch doesn’t have to include a guilty conscience or a beer belly.
Outside of the pure delight Guinness’ taste can bring, the advertising history of the company is exceptional. With iconic and imaginative commercials, ads, and posters, the stamp of Guinness being not just a beer but a complete brand with excellent brand extension is evident.