Friday 1 May 2009

The Session 27: Beyond the Black & Tan

"The whole mixing thing opens up a new sphere of beer drinking, a realm of creativity for the drinker to play brewmaster - a bonus level for the extreme beer fan". I wrote this a few weeks ago in a vblog about mixing beers. In this I blended Fuller’s ESB with their Golden Pride to create a Peacemaker. And it was pretty good. But I am unconvinced by mixing beers, yet still I’m curious about the possibilities.

For this month’s Session (hosted by Beer at Joe's), which asks us to look beyond the Black & Tan, I wanted to try something I’ve been thinking about for a while - mixing a strong stout with a cherry beer. I had a bottle of Sam Smith’s Cherry beer that’s been lying around for ages (too long - it was a year past the drink by date!) and was going to be used in the kitchen. I also had a Guinness Foreign Extra in the cupboard so I thought, ‘hey, why not?!’ I wanted to pour it so that there was a divide between the two liquids, or at least a blending of colour from black down to red. I’ve seen and done this before in a bar where I used to work. This mixed (in a truly hideous cocktail) a clear, citrusy alcopop with Guinness. If it’s poured correct (over the back of a spoon) it stays as two very separate colours in the glass and looks amazing (like this), even if it tastes like hell. Here’s the video of me pouring it and tasting it.

As you can see, my pour didn’t work out perfectly but there was some difference in colour between top and bottom (I think the carbonation in both may have encouraged the two to come together more willingly, I’m not sure - I think the nitro Guinness was better for sitting on top of the alcopop than the bottled stuff). But how did the beer taste? Well, it was ok. The first few mouthfuls were interesting but fairly good, lots of cherry, a little sourness, roasted notes, vanilla and chocolate bitterness. As I drank on it got more and more cloying and to be honest it had this weird tangy astringency (maybe the year too-old beer was to fault?!). It could’ve worked and I think a 70-30 blend, top heavy with Guinness (or another strong, thick stout) could be great.

So another interesting mix. It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped in terms of the way it looked or the way it tasted, but it was worth trying. And that was the purpose of this Session - to try something new. As for my thoughts on this mixing beers game? I’m still sceptical but I won’t give up just yet.

1 comment:

  1. Other blenders have mentioned that the specific gravities of the two beers have to be quite different to keep them separate.
    Great technique on the pouring--looks tasty--I've been wanted to try out a fruit/stout blend. Maybe I'll try it with something less sweet.