Brewery: The Brooklyn Brewery
City: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Dry Irish Stout
Craft brewing in America has never been more creative with every spice in the cabinet, every fruit, every edible flower, bits of chocolate, bacon and even peppers getting tossed into the mix.
But not every beer needs to be brewed with honey, lavender and foie gras. Sometimes, the styles which have quenched thirsts in Old Europe for centuries will do just fine. That’s what The Brooklyn Brewery has set out to do with its Dry Irish Stout. Dark in color but light in everything else, the Irish Stout is designed to be a session beer at 4.7% alcohol by volume. Rather than dissolve nitrogen into the beer to produce that thick, foamy head associated with Irish stouts today, the brewers chose a more old-fashioned approach.
Guinness is the obvious touchstone, and lovers of that Irish icon can now buy American without losing too much of that legendary flavor (though some have already been doing that with Victory Donnybrook). That’s also to say, though, that anyone used to drinking giant Russian Imperial stouts or even thick coffee stouts will be left wanting. This is fairly a mild-mannered beer. I’m usually adamant about doing tastings from the glass, but for the Dry Irish Stout, swigging from a bottle as I ate a plate of cheap Mexican food felt more appropriate—and was plenty satisfying.
The ingredients listed—five kinds of malts (Two-row English, black malt, black barley, caramel malt, unmalted barley) and four kinds of hops (Willamette, Fuggles, Cascade, East Kent Golding)—are used sparingly enough to make this more of an everyday beer to replace all those crappy American pilsners clogging up the shelves in your supermarket than something to bring to your next gathering of beer geeks.
The beer premiered last year, but it’s only available January through March, so now is the time to load up for St. Patty’s Day.