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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>

3/17/2008

Beer Blogging - Black & Tan

I think I'm going to make some drinks with Guinness in honor of St. Patrick's day (and, more importantly, Tart's birthday). First up is a classic, the Black & Tan, which for the uninitiated is Guinness Draught floating on Bass Pale Ale.



The Pour: Making your own black & tan at home is easier than you think, and you don't need to buy one of these things. First, fill the pint glass half-full with Bass (or Harp, to make a Half & Half). Then take a cheap metal spoon and bend it at the neck so that the bowl of the spoon is 90° to the handle. Put the bottom of the spoon a couple inches above the Bass and pour the Guinness (use Guinness Draught, not Stout) into the spoon slowly. Because the Guinness is more viscous than the Bass, it won't mix (at least not right away), but instead just sit on top.

The Aroma: It smells like Guinness, which is to say that it smells a lot like roasted malt. The heavy top layer of Guinness effectively prevents any of the hops from the Bass from getting up to the top of the glass.

The Taste: The first several sips start out just like Guinness, which I beer blogged here. A brief restatement: the first sip of a Guinness draught should absolutely be taken before the head starts to dissipate, because it is delicious. It's almost like the first sip of a cappuccino, because of the fine bubbles that build up due to the draught widget (a little plastic thing filled with nitrogen, used to replicate the N2/CO2 tap used for Guinness in bars). The beer itself is light and roasted, and the flavor gets fuller as the beer warms up.

Once the layers mix (which takes a few minutes if you're drinking slow, which you should be), the drink totally changes. Every sip gives you the full Guinness flavor, mixed with light flowery hops from the Bass. You can't taste all the flavor of the Bass, but what comes through complements the Guinness very nicely and actually lightens up the roasted flavor a little bit.

The Rating: 8/10. Don't get it in a bar, just make it yourself. It's easy to pour, and since you can't fit two bottles of beer into one glass you have a great excuse to have two drinks. Once you can taste two beers at the same time, it's a really nice drink with a flavor that will probably appeal even to people who don't like Guinness.

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