ES Taste Tests the New Crystal Guinness

Following the massive popularity of our recent 100 Ways to Cook with Guinness post, the brass in Dublin decided Endless Simmer should be among the first “early influencers” invited to try their new product, Crystal Guinness, set to be released in the U.K. and Ireland on June 1 and in the U.S. later this summer.

The brew is Guinness’ first attempt at a spinoff product in more than three decades, and was conceptualized in response to declining Guinness sales throughout Ireland. While Guinness remains the most popular beverage sold in the motherland, it has recently lost considerable market share to Bulmers Irish Cider, which has enjoyed phenomenal success over the past five years, particularly during the summertime. Irish countryside pubs are still reliably stocked by old lads who wouldn’t dare order anything but the classic black stuff, but in more cosmopolitan Dublin, younger drinkers have gone crazy for Bulmers’ sharp, fruity taste and light, drinkable body.

Enter Crystal Guinness:

A malted beverage that is made from the same Irish barley as the company’s flagship stout, Crystal Guinness goes through the same roasting process that gives Guinness stout its signature dark color. Only here, a “secret formula” is added at the roasting phase to produce the opposite effect — a completely clear, translucent beer that maintains Guinness’ flavor but is significantly lighter in texture, has only 95 calories per pint, and obviously looks nothing like a stout.

The verdict: while it’s rather jarring to drink, the thick, foamy head does in fact mimic the real thing perfectly. The first sip really threw me for a loop, but then I closed my eyes and tried again, and it definitely could have been a real Guinness stout. Past that foamy head, the beer itself actually tastes quite a lot like Guinness, just without the creamy consistency. It’s kind of like drinking a Bud Light infused with the flavor of a stout.

I’m a lifelong fan of Guinness, but I’ve always said it’s not something you can drink all night — it’s really a one- or two-pint beer. However, the combination of light body and deep flavor in Crystal Guinness makes it one beer I can see myself finishing a six pack of (or a case — hint, hint Guinness — send us some more!)

More St. Patrick’s Day food and drink ideas in Endless St. Patrick’s Day

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  • Jens April 1, 2011  

    Nice one.
    April Fool’s Joke somebody?
    What did you use for the foam? Dish liquid? Yummy…

  • Metrocurean April 1, 2011  

    That is hilarious.

  • forkitude April 1, 2011  

    Eff caramel color! Bring back Crystal Pepsi!
    And Burple!!

  • Don April 1, 2011  

    Definitely April Fool’s. Looks like they used a glass of water with a bit of shaving foam on top, which may be more appealing to me than their stout. Sorry, but I’ve tried Guinness several times in my adult life, hoping my taste buds had changed along the way. I could never get past a few gulps before handing it off to an appreciative friend who liked it.

  • LeMotJuste April 1, 2011  

    I knew it was a joke as soon as they said the first spinoff product in 30 years” not so. A little research goes a long way for credibility.

  • Cookin' Canuck April 1, 2011  

    The color of that is totally throwing me off, but who am I to pass judgement until I’ve tasted. I’m looking forward to seeing it on the shelves here.

  • TheGourmetCoffeeGuy April 1, 2011  

    If this is really a new product launch, rather creative and interesting to see the market reaction when “Crystal Guinness” shows up on American supermarket and other retail store shelves.
    But, since it is April Fool’s Day, one wonders….
    Great post as usual either way. Nice photos.

  • bob April 2, 2011  

    april fools!

  • Dan April 2, 2011  

    got me.

    It took me about a minute to clue in since it didn’t appear in my reader until today.


  • Dad gansie April 3, 2011  

    Oh hell got me like my wife shar’s bd April fools too
    It did look neat

  • NicolasK April 5, 2011  

    You sir are an evil evil man.
    I read this today (the 4th) and I wasn’t thinking april’s fool.
    And I was so tempted by the 95 calories a pint.
    You sir are very good.

  • Jason April 16, 2011  

    Good one. April FOOLS?

  • Mitch April 22, 2011  

    Holy Cow!


  • appliance repair san jose July 27, 2011  

    Oh you guys and your shenanigans.

  • zack howard August 23, 2011  

    go to hell!!!!! been looking forward to this all summer, april fools jokes are for 3rd graders, YOU messed with my emotions. very elaborate… could have chosen a beer without such a cult following.die

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