This zero-proof stout from the world’s most recognizable name in that kind of beer is remarkable for many reasons. Here’s why you need to pour one out.
Tastes like the real deal
Guinness was a little slow to jump on the non-alc trend, but released this distinctive product in 2020, quickly bumping up production as the demand soared. It’s sold as a four-pack of larger-than-your-average beer cans. In other words, it pours perfectly in a pint glass.
The size isn’t the only way it stands apart from the growing number of NA beers on the shelves. It’s got a widget inside, a small ball that helps the product pour more like a real draught. Because what would a Guinness be without that creamy head on top?
As the official spiel goes, the beer is made using the same ingredients as the original: barley, hops, yeast and water. After the fermentation process, the alcohol is removed using cold filtration in order to preserve the deep, rich flavors. Some describe the final taste as having hints of chocolate and coffee.
For those who’ve turned their snouts up at stout, it’s not as heavy as its appearance suggests. It comes off as pleasantly bitter and ever-so-slightly sweet, all balanced with that velvety mouthfeel.
And here’s where Guinness 0 really shines: at the table, alongside food.
Meet the Guinness beer sommelier
Steve Gilsenan has with the legendary brewery for more than two decades, most recently working as the Global Head of Quality. In that role, he travels around the world to ensure the high quality of ingredients is maintained.
While traveling, Gilsenan draws on his experience as a master brewer and beer sommelier — not to be confused with a cicerone — to talk with clients and crew about the ultimate food pairings.
“We talk about the three C’s,” he said in a recent phone interview. “We’re looking at the ways it contrasts, complements and cuts through bitterness of similar foods.”
“You never want the beer to overpower the food or visa versa,” he added.
Some of the biggest hits involve surprising combinations, including oysters on the half shell. “That’s something that we’ve been doing since 1837 when it was suggested by a prime minister,” Gilsenan said, adding that Guinness used to put on a massive oyster festival to highlight that provocative pairing. (Please bring it back!)
Spicy foods seasoned with chili powder are also a good candidate for serving alongside a stout, as are chocolate desserts. We’ll raise a pint of NA to that three-course meal.
Then, of course, there’s the classic fish and chips pairing, made even better if you add a splash of stout to the batter before dipping and frying. Mmmm, and please pass the malt vinegar.
Here’s chef Gordon Ramsay walking us through the fish and chips recipe: