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Friday Happy Hour: Caribbean Guinness Foreign Extra, the Stronger Stout

Friday Happy Hour: Caribbean Guinness Foreign Extra, the Stronger Stout

Stout lovers have lots of great reasons to visit the Caribbean. From Grand Bahama Island to Barbados, Grand Cayman and Jamaica to Trinidad, our home region offers a surprising selection of dark and hearty roasted brews worthy of a trip or three. Most Caribbean stouts aren’t all that well-known, or available outside the region, making their discoveries all the more special, if you ask me.

Then there’s the uncommon case of the West Indian version of the most famous name in dark beer – Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

Yes, it’s a Guinness through and through, bearing the same celebrated Irish heritage the world has loved since 1759, but this West Indian edition is not exactly like the Guinness Draught or Extra Stout you might’ve enjoyed elsewhere.

Our Guinness is stronger in alcohol content and flavor, as much a product of the practicality surrounding its initial introduction as the market for whom it was originally developed.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout debuted in 1801 expressly aimed at Irish immigrant laborers working in the Caribbean. West India Porter, as it was known at the time, was produced in Ireland and shipped across the seas, a little wrinkle that necessitated extra hops and a higher alcohol content to keep the beer fresh.

Though Foreign Extra Stout is now produced in the region (here, for instance), the tradition of strength and distinctive flavor remains. So much so, in fact, that many Guinness-loving West Indian friends I’ve known over the years absolutely refuse the brand’s U.S. and European iterations.

For them, these are the imitations, each of them summed up simply in two words:

Too soft.

Alcohol content in the Caribbean Guinness tops 7%, versus the 4.3 in a Guinness Draught. The flavor is bolder, more bitter and robust as well – a real masculine brew that those early immigrant workers would likely still recognize and love today.

Cheers!

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  • Harmonyhallresorts StVincent

    I would not call “foreign extra” a stout. Nowhere on the bottle does it say stout. I would clearly call this wonderful brew a dark lager.

    • uncommoncarib

      Straight from the horses mouth: “Foreign Extra Stout is brewed with generous hops and roasted barley for a bittersweet balance & full-flavored, natural bite. Developed over 200 years ago for global export from Ireland, the addition of extra hops ensured this Stout would arrive to its destination in perfect condition. Today, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
      Pure beauty. Pure GUINNESS®.” http://www.guinness.com/en-us/thebeer-fes.html

  • Jeremy McDaniel

    Another example of how unique and diverse the Caribbean is, love the history aspect! Read some where they have a brewery in Jamaica. Who would have thought Guinness as a tropical brew!