Taking Back the Dry Irish Stout
A Review of Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout by Brooklyn Brewery
Posted on 1/15/2013 by Chops
                   
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Most beer fans are intimately familiar with the Dry Irish Stout style and many don't even know it. Guinness has beyond popularized the style, but few beer drinkers can actually name another example. Known for their creamy smoothness and easy drinking nature, these beers are the pinnacle of session stouts. At this point I would usually launch into a brief history lesson or an informed observation, but the Brooklyn Brewery was kind enough to do that for me when discussing their version:

The Irish Stout beer style was once produced by dozens of breweries in Ireland. These days it is only produced by three major breweries in Ireland, none of them Irish-owned, though several small breweries and brewpubs make stout as well. People are often surprised to hear that Irish stouts are among the lightest beers on draft, both in alcohol and in calories. These beers were originally designed as ''session pints'', a term denoting beers that one can stick with for a long evening. These days, the major producers of Irish Stout dissolve nitrogen into the beer to produce the trademark head, a practice that started in 1960.

Brooklyn Irish Stout is brewed the old-fashioned way, without the nitrogen addition. A large portion of the grain is roasted like coffee beans, developing the typical color and flavor of this beer. Aside from British pale malts, the beer includes caramel malts, black patent malt, unmalted black barley and a proportion of flaked raw barley, which helps the beer develop a beautiful, thick natural head. The famous East Kent Golding hop lends to the earthy aroma. The beer is neither filtered, nor fined and has a light, brisk carbonation. The blend of grains gives the beer an espresso-like bite, followed by coffee and chocolate flavors. At 4.7% ABV, this is among the lightest beers we make, and one of our favorites. Be sure to serve it with ''two fingers'' of foam, and enjoy the flavor of Brooklyn Irish Stout. Slainte!


How could anyone resist such a delectable introduction? I know I can't, so let's get started...

In the glass, this beer has a deep dark brown coloration that is near black, but retains a caramel edging. It comes with a creamy tan head that likes to stick around for a while. This is where you will notice the difference between Brooklyn's traditional version and the nitro'd Guinness version. Using nitrogen in a beer looks cool and smooths the mouthfeel, but it can also mask smells and flavor. The head on Brooklyn's version has a pillow-like quality with a moderate density, allowing for a much more intense aromatic experience. I was able to find a rich mocha-like roasted aroma enveloped in a sweet milk chocolate. The smell is very clean and nicely balanced. Going into that first sip, I was expecting an easy drinking session stout with lots of rich flavor.

Yup, pretty much nailed it. Right away you can tell that this beer is nicely balanced with no one flavor dominating the mix. It drinks very easy with a standard thinner mouthfeel. Although, this version did have a surprisingly level of grittiness and chalkiness that I was not expecting, almost like it resides in a middle ground between a Dry Irish Stout and an American Stout. Not a bad thing mind you, just a tad aggressive for the style. I found it the roasted malt flavor to be delightfully savory without being overpowering. It consisted mostly of cocoa and espresso roast. The hop profile is crisp and reigned in, adding just the right amount of bitterness. The beer exits dry with a clean roasted aftertaste and a moderate touch of bitterness.

Overall, Brooklyn's Dry Irish Stout is a delightful session brew with great flavor. It should go without saying that I much prefer this version over larger commercial versions like Guinness. In sticking with tradition, Brooklyn has managed to craft a delectable rival capable of taking back the Dry Irish Stout style. I can easily recommend this brew to any and all beer fans, but especially to novices. Seasoned drinkers will fall in love with this beer's endless session quality. Novices will be dumbstruck by this beer's rich flavors and amazing accessibility. So the next time you find yourself reaching for that pack of Guinness, opt for the Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout instead. Discover for yourself what this style is really about. You can thank us later.

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Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout by Brooklyn Brewery
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