Instant Expert: Guinness — A St. Patty's Day Staple

guiness
What's more symbolic of St. Patty's Day then a cold glass of Guinness? Get to know Ireland's iconic brew with these 5 fun facts, plus recipes.

No doubt, you've heard of Guinness, the iconic Irish beer known for it's dark color and rich creamy head, and chances are you've probably even had a pint or two. But here are five things you probably didn't know about Ireland's home brew:

1. Guinness stout wasn't always #1

At its beginnings over two centuries ago, Guinness also brewed a Dublin Ale in addition to Stout Porter (the Guinness of today). Due to the popularity of the latter, in 1799 Arthur Guinness decided to put the breaks on the production of all other beers, focusing solely on porters and stouts. The term “porter" derives from the popularity of the beer with London's train porters while “stout" denoted “strong or full-bodied."

2. Original Guinness had a little more pep in it's step.

Guinness originally had a much higher ABV, around 7% (which you can still find in Ireland, the Caribbean and Africa under the name of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout), but in the 1950's at the urging of the Irish government, the company began brewing a beer with a lower alcohol content, which they dubbed Guinness Draught Stout, or what we know today simply as Guinness. The goal in creating this less boozy version of the classic beer was to allow workers to drink a pint or three during lunch without affecting their ability to be productive (whether it was actually effective is up for debate).

3. Guinness is not black.

Nope — it's not black or brown, like it would have us believe. The roasting of malted barley during the brewing process and the types of grains and hops used actually renders the beer a deep, dark red color. Seriously.

4. Guinness is good for you.

Forget vitamins, have a pint. If the smooth taste wasn't enough to get you hooked, the supposed health benefits are enough to make the Irish stout your new beer of choice. Back in the day, post-operative patients and pregnant woman were encouraged to drink Guinness because of the high iron content. The high amount of unmalted barley used during the process, which gives the beer its signature dry, bitter flavor, allows it to retain a lot of its nutrients, which include Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Iron, Riboflavin, Magnesium.

According to research presented to the American Heart Association by the University of Wisconsin in 2003, Guinness contains “antioxidant compounds" similar to those found in certain types of fruits and vegetables, which can help slow down the deposit of cholesterol on artery walls. Maybe the company was on to something when they launched their slogan “Guinness is good for you" back in the '20s. Hey, a Guinness a day…

5. Guinness's biggest market is in the Southern Hemisphere.

The biggest market for Guinness is not, surprisingly, Ireland or the United States, but Africa. The continent makes up approximately 40% of the global market, with about 13 breweries cross the continent producing the drink, two of which are Guinness-owned.

How to Use It:

Drinking isn't the only way to enjoy this iconic brew. It's a versatile kitchen ingredient that can elevate everything from classic brownies to mussels (according to Guinness the ultra dark beer and seafood are a match made in culinary heaven) and is perfect for tenderizing meat. Guinness pie and beef stew are popular recipes, but this St. Patty's day, we say trying something a little more outside the box. These six boozy recipes will take you from appetizers to dessert in Patty's Day-approved style.

Psst … Want to jazz up the walls of your home bar or man cave? Nab this Guinness print here on Etsy.


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