Even More New Guinness

St. James Gate has a pair of new beers in the pipeline from their Brewers Project & Open Gate Brewery. I was invited to their latest SoCal Guinness event, this one at the Holding Co. up an alley off of Beverly to sample Antwerpen Stout & Rye Pale Ale. When last we heard from the Irish brewery, they had released the West Indies Porter and Dublin Porter. Two recipes from the vaults that were variants on what Guinness is known for, dark malty beers. This time (in what I think is a better move), they have released a lighter beer alongside a porter.
The Rye Pale Ale pours a slightly hazy amber color. At first, I thought there was not much hopping to it. Then I recalibrated my out of balance hop palate and found that this beer has a good spritz to it with a smallish hit of hops and rye spice. The taste does stick. And as I drank more, I enjoyed it more. It is an upgrade from the Nitro IPA in that the name is more in line and it has a story behind it as well. The RPA being a brew that was a Christmas gift beer for friends and family before ever going on tap. Once it did go on tap, it sold and became a candidate for packaging.
Antwerpen Stout to me is all licorice. This beer also has a story as it was first brewed after World War II for the City of Antwerp market. It is also much bigger at 8% and quite chewy to me. When chocolates and truffles were passed around you could see people making sure they had the beer to pair the chocolate with.

I also got to speak with Owen the West Coast Brand Ambassador for Guinness about what is new and I learned a couple of cool things. They have now opened a tasting room for the R&R Open Gate Brewery. But it is only (currently) open on Thursday and Friday and by online reservation only. They let only 120 people in and that is it. No lines allowed. Plan ahead if you want to visit. And you might want to because they are not just a porter/stout brewery. No matter your feeling of Nitro IPA or their Blonde American Lager (that is brewed at the old Rolling Rock facility in Pennsylvania), they are trying to be seen as a full brewery that isn’t limited to one style. Case in point, they recently had a plum sour on tap.

Considering that Guinness is part of a massive corporation with a long history behind it, and a signature ale that at times blocks out the rest of their line, it is good to see that new stuff is bubbling out from Dublin. The last four beers that have come out have been much better and not trying to bandwagon or ape popular styles which is a plus.