Is locally brewed Guinness up to scratch?

How does Australian-brewed Guinness really compare?

Guinness brewed in Australia has never been more faithful to that produced in Ireland, the brewer says, but not everyone is convinced.

The common refrain that Guinness is at its best in Ireland is an “old wive’s tale”, Guinness ambassador Domhnall Marnell told Brews News.

“It’s something that people just believe without having the facts to back it up. When they leave the country they just expect that they won’t get a good pint because that’s what they’ve heard,” he said.

“The quality over here is almost the exact same as what we have in Ireland. If you took an Irish pint and put it right beside a pint here in Sydney, one that was served the right way, poured the right way, served in the right glass at the right temperature, you’d have a very hard time telling the difference. That’s my honest opinion.”

Totally different: Cassie O’Neill

But Ireland-born Cassie O’Neill, Stomping Ground brewery representative and a Certified Cicerone, says the Australian version bears no resemblance to that of Ireland.

“It’s a totally different beer. There is no comparison, I can’t drink it here. It’s the consistency, it’s so watery here and so acidic and bitter,” she said on Radio Brews News in February.

Cassie O'Neill of Stomping Ground

Cassie O’Neill of Stomping Ground

“When I went back home after living here for three years and I drank my first Guinness… it doesn’t even compare.”

Marnell, who was in Australia in the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day, says production quality and service standards have never been better for Guinness in Australia, though he acknowledges this may not always have been so.

“I think the case for a long time is that abroad, it was difficult to get a good pint and I’m not just talking about in Australia,” he said.

“I’m taking about 20 or 30 years ago… perhaps the quality wasn’t there, perhaps people weren’t keeping it at the right temperature or pouring it the right way.

“Lion have been taking care of distribution of the beer for the last five years or so and they’ve just been doing an absolutely fantastic job.

Guinness ambassador Domhnall Marnell

“I’ve been doing quite a lot of quality work with the bars since I’ve been here, and the standards are a lot better than I was expecting… to be completely honest I think the quality over here is at an all time high.”

Paddy’s Day beer from Stomping Ground
Stomping Ground has collaborated with Teeling Irish Whiskey on a beer that has been specially designed to be served in a boilermaker pairing at selected venues across Melbourne in time for St Patrick’s Day, Saturday March 17.

“It’s a delicious 4.5 per cent ABV coffee stout aptly called ‘Snakes Out’ (legend has it that St. Patrick was the person to rid Ireland of snakes!) which also uses beans from Proud Mary Coffee Roasters and will be available at selected pubs around Melbourne for St Patrick’s Day,” says Teeling’s local ambassador Martin Lynch.

“We became good friends with the Stomping Ground guys after meeting them at events around Melbourne and we were immediately wowed by their story and amazing beers.

“We both share so many synergies as two urban-based innovative producers, who have revived our respective crafts in inner-city suburbs, which had been former hubs of brewing and distilling but the industries had died out in recent times.”

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