American craft beer drinkers have a lot to be thankful for Guinness. Founded in Ireland in 1759, the beer brand invented nitro brews in the 1950s, and helped popularize the stout style of beer more than 100 years before that.
And, of course, there’s the brand itself: a smooth dry nitro stout that shows that good beer does not always have to be expensive. The affordable Guinness has been a mainstream of American pubs and beer fridges since 1817.
The brand celebrated its 200th anniversary in America this week with a party in Manhattan that highlighted several special-release beers.
Two centuries of U.S. consumers enjoying Guinness began with one line in a brewer’s log. A handwritten note from 1817, recovered by Guinness, shows that the brewery had set aside eight barrels of porter for shipment to South Carolina. One can wonder whether merchants on the other end of that shipment knew what they were receiving: the first barrels of a beer that still appeals to Americans well into the 21st century.
The NYC event showcased the brand’s new 200th Anniversary Export Stout, made by Open Gate Brewery – Guinness’ pilot brewery located at its St. James’s Gate facility in Dublin. Inspired by a recipe Benjamin Guinness – the son of Arthur Guinness – first developed in 1817, this beer is brewed with Black Patent Malt and Golding Hops and has a 6% ABV.
Guinness this month will also release its newest limited-edition Guinness Draught cans, featuring artwork from ads from the 1930s and the 1950s that depicted zoo animals. The 200 Years of Stout in America Mixed Pack – also on its way from Guinness – will bring back a few favorite stout recipes. The full list of celebratory releases includes:
- Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout: (SRP: $8.99 per 6-pack)
- Guinness Limited-Edition Mount Rushmore Cans: Guinness draught stout in limited-edition cans depicting the brand’s toucans flying across the American monument of Mount Rushmore from a rarely seen Guinness ad from the 1950s. ($8.99 per 8-pack)
- Guinness 200 Years of Stout in America Mixed Pack – A collection of brews in honor of America’s love of stouts – Guinness Original, 200th Anniversary Export Stout, Antwerpen Stout and Foreign Extra Stout – all of which have been exported to the U.S. over the past 200 years. ($21.99 per 12-pack)
Guinness has already prepared for the next century in America by opening its first brewery in this country in 63 years. Like any good immigrant-turned-success story, Guinness has become as American as apple pie.
Kyle Swartz is managing editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece Is There a Craft Beer Slowdow?