Guinness Nitro Stout & Guinness Beer Flavored Chips Pairing: This was one of those spur of the moment beer pairings that started with the question “hey do you want some Guinness chips?”. After grabbing that bag of chips from the grocery store, I felt compelled to pick up a can of Guinness and try them for the first time together as a pair. Now, I went into this paring with fairly low expectations and surprisingly enough those expectations were slightly exceeded after all was said and done, especially when it came to the chips themselves.
The Chips: Made by a UK based company called Burts, these chips were available at my local Choices grocery store for about $4 a bag. The actually appear a dark coated brown colour (a bit darker than they are on the bag) with a typical potato aroma that gave off quaffs of smokey campfire coals and just a touch of salt. When tasting them, I found them to be crispy and potato forward (yes I wrote that!) with notes of roasted barley, soot, and smoke, which were all accentuated by just a tinge of salt and very little to no oil taste. I was half expecting a gimmicky overlay of flavour but they weren’t overbearing at all. Instead, they tasted pretty close to a real Guinness beer, something I was not expecting, but was quite pleased to learn while tying them. Regardless, the ingredient list was readable, Burts uses actual malted barely extract for flavour and I felt that these were pretty darn good chips that I plan on buying again
The Beer: Well I will admit, the Guinness Nitro Stout can experience tends to be disappointing for me compared to a proper draught pour, even in a Canadian pub, so it’s not the best way to drink this beer in my opinion (yet so many do). The stout was very light tasting, with a smooth mouth feel, creamy texture and notes of roasted barley and smoke appeared as it went down the throat. I find that a pint poured at a pub typically has more body and smoke flavour, so maybe I’ll sneak a few of these chips into a nearby place next time and try them together in order to get the full experience.
The Pairing: It’s beer and chips, so we’re not talking about a massive flavour journey here by any means, however there were a few noteworthy things about this experience worth highlighting. First, the chips improved with this pairing, offering bigger versions of previously identified flavours, especially the potato portion and smoke notes. The beer was decidedly less smokey and was increasingly thicker and creamy, so that was a pleasant change from the plain beer on its own. Most importantly though, these worked decently together and it was fun little experiment to try at a low cost, with a low alcohol beer that when poured right can still be a good beer experience for any beer consumer. It could even be better with a higher quality craft nitro stout!
Overall Rating: Good at about a 6/10, the chips being highly rated on their own and the beer bringing down the overall experience just a bit. It might be worth trying these chips with some stout cheddar, maybe melted on top if you want to make something even better? Still, if you see these don’t be afraid to give them a try!