WINTER 2018 / VOL. 18 ISSUE 1
Around 1.8 billion pints of Guinness are drunk around the world every year, and now the famous Dublin brewery is celebrating the 200th anniversary of exporting their iconic drink to the US by unleashing a limited-edition stout – and rolling out the Blasphemy Barrel.
A funky cyberpunk-style contraption, the Blasphemy Barrel is currently a pilot program used at large events around Seattle and occasionally in Los Angeles and New York, but a rabid response to this new idea has meant it could expand across America – and then maybe the world.
That they’re a huge hit in Seattle – where there’s even one permanently installed in the Old School Ironworks bar in the Eastlake neighborhood – might give drinkers a clue about the twist that Guinness innovator Kyle Sealey has come up with, though it might make other drinkers drop their pints in horror.
As for the anniversary, that can be traced back to a single handwritten line in a brewer’s log in Charleston, South Carolina, which showed the arrival of the first eight barrels (known as a "porter") of Guinness in October, 1817.
That was the same year that a roasted grain Black Patent Malt was created by Benjamin Guinness (founder Arthur’s son) and became the base of the Guinness billions still know and love – and the inspiration for the 200th Anniversary stout.
Guinness isn’t going anywhere, but the craze for another drink – coffee – has seen the well-named Blasphemy Barrel using a pressurized chamber to infuse the aromas, flavors and essence of the bean with the draught taste everyone knows so well.
Looking odd at first (pipes, valves, gauges and a clear tube with coffee beans inside), this barrel nonetheless produces a handsome draught pint at the top, where it settles while sitting on a little neon-lit platform. Does the finished product accurately reflect the name of the "Blasphemy Barrel" – that’s for you and your taste to decide!
Cacao nibs and vanilla beans have been tested to great acclaim too, and Sealey revealed during a crowded event that there was another permanent installation at the Burger Brawler bar within the Lincoln South Food Hall in Bellevue, Washington, just in time for the Holidays.
He quickly added that pumpkin spice will never be something they’ll try, even though it seems to flavor everything else at the end of the year.
No matter whether the Blasphemy Barrel makes it to your part of the country or not, there’s good new year news for all American fans: the first Guinness brewery on U.S. soil in more than 60 years will open in Maryland in 2018.
Named the Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, it’s planned to be a center for barrel-aging beer as well as a permanent brewing site for Guinness Blonde American Lager and other new beers created specifically for the USA. Slainte! Here’s to 200 more years!
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