I do love me a “Black and Tan”, and St. Patrick’s Day is a great reminder to make (or order, if I’m out at a bar) a few rounds. In fact, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at pouring ‘em over the years. I’ll give you the scoop on how to pour one like a pro in just a second, but first the ingredients discussion. You’ll get a lot of arguments over which ale you use for the tan part, it could be Bass Ale, which is what I usually make mine with, or Harp Lager, or Smithwick’s Irish Ale if you want to stick with nothing but true Irish ingredients. But the key is, of course, a good supply of Guinness Draught. Remember, it has to say Guinness “Draught” on the bottle or can, because that means it has the little widget in it that injects the gasses when you open it that give it that “out of the keg” vibe that you need. Use a good beer glass and get yourself an old spoon that you can dedicate to Black and Tan pouring for life, cuz once you bend like in the picture below you won’t be using it for anything else. You can also buy a spoon pre-bent for the purpose, or a good turtle tool to do the job. Hell, with some experience you’ll be able to make a great one just by knowing how to pour onto a big unbent spoon.
OK, so now that you’ve got the stuff you need, let’s get to pouring! Crack open the ale or lager that you’re using and pour your glass about half full. Then open up your Guinness, lay your spoon over the top of the glass and start to slowly pour the creamy deliciousness of the Guinness over the spoon to make sure that it doesn’t go diving hard into the lighter beer below and kill your the whole concept. You see, the Guinness is of a lighter consistency than the beer and will float on top of it. You should get some of that extremely cool looking cascade effect that Guinness fans know and love so much if you pour it right. You know, even if you mess up the first time or two that you try to pour a Black and Tan, it still tastes great so keep at it! After a few you’ll be the stud that your friends have to invite to the party because you know how to do it.
And if you want to get more creative with your Guinness today, here are some other things to do with it, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Black Castle: Guinness poured over Newcastle Brown Ale
Priest Collar: A priest collar is made in the same way as a black and tan except using a cider instead of a pale ale or pale lager. Another name for this combination is called a Snakebite in some parts of the midwest and southern Canada.
Black and Blue: (aka “Dark Side of the Moon” ) Guinness layered over Blue Moon (beer) in place of pale ale or pale lager.
Black Velvet: A head of Guinness poured over cider ale, usually Strongbow Cider. Referred to as a Crown Float (or Crown Floater) in the Ottawa, Canada area.
October Tan: Guinness poured atop Samuel Adams Octoberfest creating a well-bodied seasonal mix.
Pennsylvania Tan: Yuengling and Guinness
Special: Smithwicks with a Guinness Head
Black Cherry: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat with Guinness
Black and Indy: Pabst Blue Ribbon with Guinness
Wilmington Delight: King Cobra and Pabst and a little Fortified Wine
Black and Gold: Murphy’s Irish Stout poured over Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse, although Beamish or Guinness have been used
Black Czech: Guinness poured over Pilsner Urquell