Dry Irish Stout is the quintessential Irish Beer, made famous worldwide by Guinness. However there is a new kid on the block, so how do the two compare?
Guinness Extra Stout are served in most pubs in Ireland and can be gotten 'from the shelf' in most good pubs (i.e. the bottle is not refrigerated). It pours a jet black with a strong frothy tan head. The aroma is mild and sweet with a no real roast or coffee flavour which would be expected from this style. It is light to medium bodied with a moderately high level of carbonation. It is a little thin for my liking. Initially this beer is underwhelming and a bit bland. However it got nicer as it started to warm up (I had refrigerated this bottle). My overall impression would be that it is a beer well worth trying (don't serve too cold) but it is pretty uninteresting.
and now to the new kid on the block.
Dungarvan Brewing Company's Black Rock Stout is bottle fermented and unfiltered and is slightly stronger than Guinness at 4.3% (Guinness is 4.2%). The first thing that strikes you is that this is a beautiful looking beer in the glass. Jet black with a strong tan head that laces the glass right down to the last drop. It has a smooth mouthfeel with a nice level of carbonation. Medium to heavy bodied but very dry which means there is no cloying heaviness on the palate. The taste is a revelation; light and creamy going down with a lovely body that presumably is enhanced by the lack of filtering. All of this is rounded out by a nice level of dryness. Don't serve too cold and make sure to have more than one in the fridge. One of if not the best Irish dry stout currently on the market.
In summary, as you may have guessed from the notes above, I think that Black Rock Stout is superior in every way; the look, the aroma, the mouthfeel and most importantly the taste. Black Rock Stout is how I imagine stout tasted in years gone by, a surprising conclusion when one thinks that Dungarvan Brewing Company only opened its doors this year!