Aside from domestic macro-brews like Bud Light, Miller Light and the rest, there may not be a beer offered in more bars in the country than Guinness Draught. It’s available in over 150 countries and has become one of Ireland’s most famous exports since its overseas debut in 1769.
While the commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day may have a hand in the ubiquity of Guinness, the brew itself merits widespread popularity. What makes Guinness standout is its creamy, rich mouthfeel that is silky smooth and unlike any other beer Americans had drunk. That is thanks to its being packaged and carbonated with nitrogen, unlike other beers that are carbonated strictly with carbon-dioxide — think of nitro coffee and how different that is from a regular cup.
For this reason, Guinness offers a sweetness and a milkshake-like quality that other beers don’t. The Dry Irish Stout clocks in at 4.2 percent ABV and can be a gateway stout for drinkers of all kinds. If you’ve had a Guinness before and liked it, here are three other stouts you should drink.
Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro
Style: Nitro Milk Stout
Availability: Year-round, nationwide
Nitro Twin: Where the other stouts on this list might be vertical moves within the familial style, Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout Nitro is more of a horizontal move from Guinness. The first American stout to be put on nitrogen and gain popularity, it has come to be called “America’s Favorite Stout.” The nitrogen adds a pillowy head that pairs impeccably well with the roasted barely. Along with Magnum and US Goldings hops, it’s a pivot from Guinness that should be an easy one for most drinkers to make.
Modern Times Black House Coffee Stout
Style: Coffee Stout
Availability: Year-round, regional (and in some U.S. cities)
The Coffee Rendition: Coffee stouts are a popular favorite among stout lovers, but most Guinness drinkers may not have ventured that far yet. There aren’t many breweries who do an easy-drinking coffee stout like Modern Times — that’s because Modern Times is one of the few breweries in the U.S. that roasts its own coffee, meaning Modern Times knows exactly how to marry beer and coffee. The flagship Black House is one of the San Diego brewery’s finest examples of its prowess in the style. Using a kiln coffee malt made of 75 percent Ethiopian and 25 percent Sumatran, the sharpness is balanced out with a pale chocolate malt. Also using oats in the malt helps smooth out the mouthfeel for a similarish creaminess on the palate to Guinness.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout
Availability: Limited, nationwide
The Bourbon Upgrade: While Jim Koch of Samuel Adams is widely credited with having been the first American brewer to put a stout into a bourbon barrel, it was Goose Island that perfected the bourbon barrel-aged stout and gave way to its incredibly popularity. The Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout is the flagship of that barrel program and is still looked upon as the epitome of the style. Imperial stouts tend to be much higher in ABV though, so drinkers beware first and foremost of that. Everything that’s in an ordinary stout gets magnified tenfold in a bourbon barrel-aged stout. This one offers double fudge brownie chocolate notes with a mild whiskey bite at the finish. Much thinner in mouthfeel, it is still extremely rich and a worthwhile try for Guinness lovers.