5 iconic Irish stouts to try if you like Guinness
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5 iconic Irish stouts to try if you like Guinness

GUINNESS IS the world’s most popular Irish stout.

However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to one of Ireland’s most famous alcoholic tipples.

Irish stout boasts a heritage and history that dates back centuries.

And while Guinness might be the most famous example, it’s just one of the many options available to those seeking an authentic pint of the black stuff.

So while the temptation might be to stick to your guns with a cold, refreshing, pint of Guinness, it’s never too late to get a little adventurous with your drink of choice.

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Here are five Guinness alternatives well worth giving a try.

5. Black Rock Irish Stout - 4.3%

Something of a newcomer, this stout from the Dungarvan Brewing Company is fast becoming one of Ireland’s best kept secrets.

A traditional dry Irish stout, Black Rock combines roasted barley with notes of vanilla and aniseed.

Brownish-black in colour, it’s a distinctly light and textured pint, notable for its subtle hoppiness and malty aftertaste.

Served in bottles, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a hearty meal.

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One word of warning: every bottle contains yeast sediment, so pour carefully.

4. O’Hara’s Irish Stout - 4.3% ABV

A hark back to the classic Irish stouts of yesteryear, O’Hara’s Irish Stout has been the flagship tipple of the O’Hara brand ever since it debuted back in 1999.

Known for its quality and authenticity, O’Hara’s Irish Stout boasts a robust roast flavour complemented by a full-bodied and smooth feel.

It’s a gloriously creamy Irish stout, it blends coffee aromas with light liquorice notes thanks to its combination of traditional stout hops and roast barley.

Served in much the same way as Guinness at 4.3% ABV, O’Hara’s Irish Stout is widely available in off-licences but even better from the tap.

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3. Porterhouse Oyster Stout - 5.2%

Significantly sharper than the average pint of Guinness, the Porterhouse Oyster Stout is nutty, bitter and ultra-dry with an aroma of sweet, caramel notes.

It may lack the velvety creaminess of some of its contemporaries but what it lacks there it more than makes up for in adding a little fizz to proceedings.

There’s also a hint of salty brine to this particular stout - oysters are shucked into the brewing tanks - which only adds to its uniqueness.

Additionally, with hints of everything from liquorice to seaweed, this stout is also distinctive for finishing with a medium bitterness and some notes of chocolate and coffee.

2. Murphy’s Irish Stout - 4.0% ABV

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Credit: FineArtAmerica

Dark in colour and medium-bodied, Murphy’s is an internationally recognised Irish stout with a brewing history that goes back to 1856.

Brewed in the legendary surroundings of Lady’s Well Brewery in Cork, Murphy’s is an Irish dry stout, combining a silky-smooth finish with toffee and coffee understones.

There’s almost no bitterness, just a suitably creamy finish. Regarded by many in Cork as the superior stout when puy up against Guinness, Murphy’s is widely available in pubs and off-licences.

1. Beamish Irish Stout - 4.1% 

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A classic Irish stout that dates back to 1792, like Murphy’s Beamish is brewed in Cork, where it’s known, jokingly, as the “hipster’s stout”.

Boasted roasted and heavy malt aromas, Beamish is distinctively black, with a distinctive tan head. The taste is equally enticing, blending malt, chocolate and coffee with a roast finish.

Maintains a fine off-white thick head to the very last drop. Best of all, Beamish is a truly Irish treat and likely to be found on these shores, making it the Emerald Isle’s best kept secret.

A rich and creamy taste to savour.