...Well, it has been, hasn't it? With St Patricks' day and all, I wonder how much Guinness has been sold in the UK alone?
So, in a strange sort of tribute, I decided to track down some alternative black stuff this week, and came across two gems.
Firstly, TGS stalwart and 'measure of quality' Outlaw had their simply named 'Irish Stout' on tap at Foleys. A great, thick creamy head gave way to an intitally coffee-laced mouthful, but a long, dark-chocolate dominated swallow really surprised. Maybe because it was an Outlaw beer I expected something a little more ...out there, but what I got was a fantastically balanced, dry, stout. Not too sweet, I really could drink a lot of this.
When I got home, I popped open a bottle of Left Hand Milk Stout that Zak had recommended to me on a rare midweek visit to BeerRitz just before Christmas. "Try it", he urged, "it's really quite good." and, being Zak, he was right. I am partial to Milk Stout, but a little cynical about American offerings. But this really was good - creamy, light, and sweet. A little too sweet to drink a lot of of, but surprisingly even-handed. If the Outlaw stout was a lovely shot of espresso, the Left Hand was a latte; to be sipped rather than sessioned.
My mum allegedly craved Mackeson's Milk Stout when she was pregnant with me; I've always attributed by affection for beer as a result of this. Really.