Posted in Beer Backstory, Guinness

St Paddy’s Spotlight – Guinness

It’s St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of this alcoholic holiday, I thought I would feature what is probably the most well known beer on a day like this – Guinness.  Craft or no craft, this is one beer that’s hard to ignore.

Guinness was started by Arthur Guinness in 1759, in Dublin, Ireland.  Fun fact- the St. James’s Gate Brewery is actually under a 9,000 year lease at £45 per year.  By 1838, St Jame’s Gate was the largest brewery in Ireland, and almost 100 years later in 1914, the largest in the world.  In 2010, it has lost the title of largest brewery, but St Jame’s still lays claim to the largest stout brewer on the planet.  Guinness Brewery is large not only in volume but also in size.  At various times in its history, it’s owned almost 70 acres of land, buildings that housed employees, and streets.  Guinness has even produced its own power at one point.

The Irish Dry Stout that we have come to know, is based on English Style Porters that originated in 18th Century England.  Roasted barley gives it the toasted flavor. The creamy mouthfeel comes from nitrogen, which is infused into the beer under much higher pressures than regular beers, and separated out at the pour.  Guinness is made with water, barley, hops, and yeast.  Something that you might not know is that this stout is also treated with Isinglass finings, a substance that is obtained from dried bladders of fish.  It is used to clarify the beer.  (Removing the suspended materials.) Lots of craft beers these days are unpasterized, unfiltered, and even bottle conditioned, Guinness however, is pasteurized and filtered  Ever opened a can or bottle of Guinness and heard a hissing bubbling noise?  That’s the nitrogen “widget” blowing the gas through the beer, fluffing it up, creating the creamy head.

There is a lot of history surrounding Guinness and St. Jame’s Gate Brewery.  I could go on for another page, but hey – it’s St. Paddy’s Day.  Drink up!


Guinness is  4.2% ABV, and just turned 250 years old!