Theres No Shame in a Starting Point
A Review of Smithwick’s by Guinness Ltd.
Posted on 2/17/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
I can remember back to the days when I was just starting out on my better beer journey, and when I look at how far I have come, I really have to sit and shake my head. I would venture to say this could apply to many of you as well. I realize that if you are around the age of me or my co-founder, there really weren't that many craft beer options when you were just starting out. That's not really saying we are old, but rather bragging about how far the craft beer industry has come in a relatively short amount of time. Still don't believe me? What if I were to say there was a time when one of the ''beer snob'' staples happened to be Smithwick's Irish Red Ale by Guinness Ltd? Yeah, how many of you now have a small smile on your face as you are slowly shaking your head in a somewhat amused fashion?

In the glass, Smithwick's is your basic Irish red. The coloration is a basic copper brown with just a bit of a red hue to it, and an average two fingers worth of tan head can be achieved on a normal pour. The head has some decent staying power, and provides for some good patches of thick, clingy lacing. The aromas, while basic, stick very true to the style. Slightly stale biscuits and faint caramel dominate the nose, with some earthy spice notes popping through at times. With some digging, you might find something that resembles a dark cherry pocket, but it takes some serious searching to find.

The first sip offers up no surprises. It is very malt forward, and sweet. The sweet caramel flavor dominates the initial taste, and takes a few minutes to get broken up by a faint hops tingle on the back end. The flavor train moves very quickly, as in you taste the caramel malts and then everything is gone as soon as you swallow. Only after some patience and persistent searching can you pick out some slightly peppery notes and the bitterness of the tart cherry pocket noticed in the nose. The mouthfeel is slightly thin for the style, but not to the point of giving a huge knock because of it.

I know that after reading this review, it may seem that I am ready to completely shred good ole Smithwick's. Not so fast my friends. Granted, I have had other Irish reds that are miles above it, but I have also had some that didn't deserve to sit on the same shelf as it. Personally, I would only drink it in a pinch, but that doesn't make it a bad beer. The baseline flavors are right for the style, and it's an easy drinker. Other than it being amazingly basic, there really isn't anything ''wrong'' with it. Think of it as a bridge beer for beginners, but a low end session beer for anyone with the slightest clue. Just remember that there is no shame in where you started. We all had to somewhere, and the important part is that we indeed got our start.

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Smithwick’s by Guinness Ltd.
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