I’m working on the hypothesis that the better tasting beers come from breweries that are at least a couple hundred years old, and the older the brewery, the better.
Smithwicks supports my hypothesis, being the delicious product of a brewery established in 1710. John Smithwick built his brewery upon land provided to him by the Duke of Ormonde. The site was that of a former Franciscan Abbey, the resident monks having brewed ale as far back as the 14th century.
Being established in 1710, Swithwicks is the oldest continuously operating brewery in Ireland. In 1965, Smithwicks was made part of Guinness and has only been available in the United States for the last five years or so.
San Diego afforded me ample time to get familiar with a few different beers, such as the previously reviewed Steinlager. While glad for the experience of having tried New Zealand’s famous brew, I won’t repeat that experience.
Striking out against the grain, fighting peer pressure to stay with the tried and true Guinness, I found myself enjoying a Smithwicks.
A dark ale but not as dark as Guinness. Reviewers talk about “nuttiness” or “bitterness” of beers. I found Smithwicks to be neither nutty nor bitter, and one review I discovered described Smithwicks as having a “complex” finish. What the hell does “complex” mean?
Smithwicks had what I would call a smooth finish, meaning no icky bitter aftertaste. The flavor was smooth all the way through, all the way to the bottom of the glass. Maybe a little bitter but not so much so as to be a problem. As a beer warms to room temperate, I am attentive to how the character of the taste changes. Ask yourself when you drink a beer, as it warms, can you finish it? Or, do you pour it out? If you have to pour it out, the beer is probably not all that good. Smithwicks I found to be good all the way through.
When I returned to Murray, I ate at a local restaurant, a small regional chain. At the bar, I discovered Guinness on tap. Ordering up one, I discovered the bartender had no idea how to pour one. Drinking my badly poured Guinness, I found that either the delivery system was wrong, or the pour was wrong. Either way, ick. I opted for a bottled Smithwicks, and was delighted to discover that a bottled Smithwicks was better than a badly poured Guinness.
Bottom-line, either bottled or on tap Smithwicks is a very good choice as far as ales go.