Ginger, coffee, lemongrass … these are not flavours you would normally associate with a stout from Guinness.
But that is exactly what you get from the brand new Guinness Bright.
Launched in May, the beer was crafted exclusively for Malaysia through a partnership between brewers at Heineken Malaysia Berhad and the Open Gate Brewery at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.
The Open Gate Brewery is a working microbrewery and pub situated within the main Guinness brewery, in which Guinness brewers get to conduct experiments and come up with new beers, whether by reviving old recipes or by creating their own.
The idea behind Guinness Bright was to come up with a refreshing, easy to drink stout that would complement Guinness’ existing range of beers in Malaysia, which include Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES) and Guinness Draught.
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is a variant of Guinness that has been brewed outside of Ireland since 1801. It has an intense aroma of sweet, almost coffee-like malt, with a full-bodied texture and a creamy, sweet, malty palate.
Meanwhile, the ever-popular Guinness Draught is the flagship variant that is served most around the world. Nitrogenated instead of carbonated like other beers, Guinness Draught tends to be a lot easier to drink than the FES. It has a creamy and rich texture, with balanced flavours of malted barley, slightly bitter yet sweet caramel notes, and a refreshing, almost soothing finish.
Guinness Bright (4.5% ABV) manages to take the sweet, coffee-like maltiness of the FES and marry it with the smooth refreshing smoothness of the Guinness Draught, while adding a few surprises of its own. The ginger and lemongrass extracts come through very distinctly on the nose and on the initial palate.
At first, the ginger notes can be a bit disarming, but the flavour actually grows on you the more you sip it. Together with the lemongrass notes, it gives the beer a very distinctly unique flavour profile. Coming in at 4.5% ABV, it also has the smooth, light yet creamy texture of the Draught, and as it warms up further, the coffee notes come through a lot more.
Personally, I feel that the Guinness Bright can be a lighter, more refreshing alternative compared to the Guinness Draught, which is only available on tap, and the Guinness FES, which can be a tad rich and heavy for more casual drinking occasions. The ginger and lemongrass notes are definitely its most unique selling point, and also lends an Asian flavour to the otherwise familiar Guinness flavour profile.
Guinness Bright is available in 325ml bottles and 320ml cans, and can be found at bars, pubs, restaurants, coffeeshops, and supermarkets across Malaysia. For more information on Guinness Bright, visit www.facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia.