News of Guinness planning a brewery in the United States was covered in summary last week and with St. Patrick’s Day still fresh in my mind, it is time to check in with Guinness Brewery Ambassador Eoghain [pronounced Owen] Clavin.
Sean Inman: How have the Brewers Project beers been received?
Eoghain Clavin: It’s been really positive, especially because variety in beer is what people have come to expect, no matter who’s brewing it. There’s credibility that comes with the Guinness brand, so people have been excited to try the new creations we release, whether they’re dark beers like they’re used to or beers that people might have been surprised to see come from Guinness, like Nitro IPA or Blonde American Lager.
SI: What new beers are in the pipeline for that series that we might see in L.A.?
EC: You’re in luck – Guinness Irish Wheat is the latest Brewers Project beer, and it’s just hitting stores across the country. It’ll be in most places once spring is in full swing. It’s essentially Guinness’ take on the classic wheat beer style, using wheat grown and sourced only in Ireland.
SI: What can you tell us about the plans for the Maryland based brewery?
EC: It’s going to be incredible to have a Guinness brewery in the U.S. because we’ll be able to take what we’ve always done at the Open Gate Brewery in Dublin and create new beers just for the American market, as well as a fun place people can visit and enjoy. The Maryland brewery will only strengthen the connection between Guinness and the U.S. Planning details are being finalized as we speak, so more to come.
SI: Will there be a West Coast location in the future?
EC: Who knows what the future holds, but for now, the focus is on making the most of our opportunity in Maryland.
SI: Has it been hard to educate people about the more subtle hops in beers like the Nitro IPA and the Rye Pale Ale?
EC: Talking about beer is always a pleasure. I feel there is a great appetite for beer knowledge here in the US and on the West Coast in particular.
We use a total of five different hops in our Nitro IPA. Some are well-known local brewery staples, such as Challenger and Cascade, but we also use more exotic hops from different regions of the world, like Topaz from Australia, Celia from Slovenia, and Admiral from the UK. These hops may be unfamiliar to most beer enthusiasts and always lead to great conversations about their use in the brewing process and their flavor profiles.
Rye Pale ale utilizes Cascade and Mosaic hops, both classic hops from the Pacific Northwest. The Citrus and Grapefruit flavors imparted by these hops are well known to the US palate at this stage, but the addition of Rye malt gives balance and spice to the beer, making it a refreshing option for beer drinkers across the board.
SI: What is the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day like?
EC: Nationally, we always pull out all the stops to make sure Guinness shows up in as many places as possible on St. Patrick’s Day, whether it’s our #StacheForCharity campaign – we’re donating $1 for every photo posted to social media using that hashtag and containing a Guinness stache – or our special edition Guinness Draught toucan cans.
On a personal level I find the build-up to St. Patrick’s to be one of the most enjoyable times of the year! Getting tagged in posts from friends all over the world raising glasses of Guinness and wishing me well on March 17. Requests from bars asking me to come in to check that their draft system is pouring perfect pints of Guinness Draught for the big day, (by the way, DRAUGHT is pronounced DRAFT and not DROUGHT!). Meeting new people from every walk of life, united by the sense of community that St. Patrick’s Day brings. It’s a special time and I’m proud to be a part of it. Slainte!
The BEER OF THE WEEK is swirled. King Swirly the 3rd a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Dark Ale with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cold brew coffee, and lactose, will debut at King Harbor Brewing‘s 3rd Anniversary celebration.
Your HOMEWORK is to check out the doubled in size taps at Eagle Rock Brewery. They will be putting the finishing touches on a major taproom expansion project. 8 additional taps will be flowing to their bar, bringing the total capacity to 16 regular taps.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.