Is there any scarier concept than seeing "brewed in Canada" on a label? First, it means that it's being not consumed in Canada and, second, it means it is brewed by someone with no provincial pride. I see dead people.
Sound harsh? Well, 25 or 30 years ago, I would buy a six of Canadian made Guinness once in a while to set myself apart or maybe to keep people from taking it at parties. Draft Guinness showed up in the pubs of Halifax, Nova Scotia around 1986 and draft Guinness in a can hit the stores around 1990. Other than that, as mentioned before, we were looking across the counter at what we understood was Labatt 50 with a mysterious Irish syrup forwarded in bulk mixed in. Reason #38,759 why no one wants to see 1979 again.
So, I pop the Canadian-made Guinness expecting that there will be some grey matter dedicated to storing my opinion of a beer I have not had for half my life. It looks like cola as it pours but leaves a active lunar landscape of a mocha cream head. Note: credit it one fine feature. On the nose, there are notes of petroleum jelly and brown crayon. In my mouth, it is not the beer of yesteryear but a reasonably moderately soft slightly rummy middle with acrid burnt toast finishing beer. Bitter like a bit of white grapefruit set alight by a bit of damp cocoa pod coaxed into flame by a bit of gasoline. There it is - that tang of the plastic and cat sick on the carpet taste that I recall but, to be fair, it is very neatly tucked into a corner. Hardly notice it at all. Not a bad beer but a bit of a quietly harsh beer. Like Manitoba in February. The BAers show good taste.
After the balance of the glass was poured, cleaned and sterilized... let's look at the Guinness Foreign
Export Extra Stout which promises me on the back label that it was brewed in Ireland. This is my first bottle so I am fairly hopeful. I don't want to disappoint Ron. [I mean, could you imagine admitting in his presence that you don't like Abt 12 and not receive a head butt? Sure you could just dodge out of the way but that only makes the moment worse.] FES pours much the same but the aroma is... better. Licorice and dark chocolate with nods to Belgian browns. In the mouth, there is more of that along with a nicely assertive nut vegetative bitterness all in a yogurt cream setting. Not overly heavy despite the 7.5%. There is a neat demarcation between all that in the first half of the sip and the dry roasty toastiness of the long finish. BAers show good taste again.
What have we learned. Somethings are worth fearing and brand in itself can be meaningless.