The Debut of Guinness Nitro IPA

Can of Guinness Nitro IPA (photo by Cat Stelzer)
Can of Guinness Nitro IPA (photo by Cat Stelzer)

It can be a challenge to reinvent the wheel when your business was formed in the year 1759. To withstand the changes through these 256 years one learns to do things exceptionally well and this is exactly what Guinness has accomplished with its world class Stout. Locked into a 9,000-year lease when founder Arthur Guinness began operations at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, Guinness is dedicated for the long term.

Known for its black, velvety stout, Guinness has ventured out to brew other beer styles and its latest project is a brand new IPA that is served on nitro in lieu of normally only using carbon dioxide. The new can of Guinness Nitro IPA uses the same delivery method as that of can of Guinness Draught Stout with the use of its widget. This technology was introduced in 1988 and gives Guinness Draught its famous smooth, velvety texture all in a portable container. “Guinness perfected the art of adding nitro to beer,” states Keith Dunne, Guinness Beer Ambassador. This delivery of using a blend of both CO2 and N2 is said to produce approximately 240 million bubbles from a single can of Guinness.

Guinness Nitro IPA was developed by a select group of brewers from the famous St. James Gate Brewery located in Dublin, Ireland. More specifically this beer is part of “The Brewers Project” that is brewed at Brewhouse No. 4. This group of brewers is in charge with Guinness’ creative development that channels its energy into the Brewers Project. These brewers were recently tasked with brewing a brand new IPA that was led by brewer Luis Ortega whom developed this new IPA recipe. Below is a video from Guinness that describes this tenuous process.

“IPAs are complex and hoppy, but for some beer drinkers the bitterness can be too much,” explained Ortega, the brewer who created this beer’s recipe. “We aimed to make a balanced, smooth beer. Guinness perfected nitrogenated beer more than 60 years ago, so we believed we could really add something new to the style. There’s plenty of hoppy flavor, with citrus aroma to the fore, but the nitrogen rounds it all out. The mouthfeel is fantastic, and the use of Guinness yeast gives it an echo of the character of our famous stouts.”

During our tasting of the new Guinness Nitro IPA we were introduced to the beer by Keith Dunne, Guinness Beer Ambassador and Jon Urch, Customer Marketing Director for Diageo (owner of Guinness), that were in Portland for a few days last week. Upon opening the can of Nitro IPA that actual cracking of the can top is much more pronounced than that of its Guinness Draught Stout can. After letting the can sit for a few moments and then pouring the beer into a glass, the Nitro IPA immediately develops the same frothy appearance as if a can of Guinness Draught Stout was poured. As the nitrogen settles the beer clears up offering a dark amber appearance from its in house roasted barley that Guinness provides.

A creamy pour of Guinness Nitro IPA (photo by Cat Stelzer)
A creamy pour of Guinness Nitro IPA (photo by Cat Stelzer)
Guinness Nitro IPA Glass Pour (photo by Cat Stelzer)
Guinness Nitro IPA Glass Pour (photo by Cat Stelzer)

Guinness Nitro IPA uses five different hops: Admiral for bittering, Topaz and Celia in the whirlpool, and Challenger, Cascade, and Topaz for dry hopping. The late addition hops help give this beer some of its forward citrus notes. As the beer settles and slightly warms much more bittering flavors are noticed but nothing like a West Coast IPA. Nitro IPA is definitely in more of a traditional English-Style IPA. “It is literally a passion project from the brewers. If this was drunk in Ireland it would be a very hoppy IPA,” explains Urch. This shows how far the IPA beer style has come here in the United States from its origins in England.

The malt used is premium roasted barley and golden ale malt. And of course the yeast strain used is the proprietary strain that Guinness has been using in its famous Stout for the past 120+ years. This combination gives off some similarities to its big brother, Guinness Draught Stout, but in a way that leaves a soft lingering hop flavor without the heavy roastiness. This Nitro IPA is balanced in a way that allows the beer to pair well with a variety of foods.

Guinness Nitro IPA Stats:
ABV/Bitterness/Color: 5.8% ABV; IBU 44; EBC 25
Format: Six-pack of 11.2 oz. cans, 13.2G keg
Calories & Carbs: 154 calories and 11 grams of carbs per 11.2 fl oz. can
Serve: Best enjoyed straight from the can or served from the tap in a Guinness Gravity glass

  • Can: Straight pour into a Guinness Gravity Glass
  • Draft: Traditional two-part pour using a Guinness Gravity Glass

Look for Guinness Nitro IPA in 6 pack, 11.2 ounce cans at a suggested retail of $8.99 and on draft at select bars. Serving Nitro IPA in a Guinness Gravity Glass is recommended as the glass’ design optimizes the benefits of nitrogenation and the aroma of the beer.

Guinness Nitro IPA Can and Glass (photo by Cat Stelzer)
Guinness Nitro IPA Can and Glass (photo by Cat Stelzer)

Also worth noting is all Guinness Draught Stout that is now sold in the North America is brewed at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. Its contract of brewing in Canada for the United States market has ended, however a few of the brewers other varieties may be brewed elsewhere.

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