It being the winter, Helper Monkey Amy and I decided to make a delicious hearty vegetable soup. No meat, only veggies. Don’t worry, it has lots of body, and what the Japanese would call umami (i.e. a savory taste). As part of my post holiday focus on the fitness, I am trying to eat healthier. This may include less meat, but it does not include less beer (very convenient), because beer is healthy. It was a big pot of soup that lasted several days, and one of those days I had a Guinness Foreign Extra Stout with it.
Foreign extra stout is a beer brewed by Guinness for export to places like the Caribbean. Regular Guinness Stout is a very light, low alcohol session beer (contrary to what my unbeer-schooled college mind thought the first time I had one). To make the long trip to the hot Caribbean, they had to brew it to a higher alcohol content. This is essentially the same reason the British invented the Russian Imperial Stout, except for export in the opposite direction. For a long time, to get Foreign Extra Stout, you had to travel either to the Caribbean or to Africa. Now Guinness has decided to import it to the states, and we are all the better for it.
To be perfectly honest, an ideal food pairing for a foreign extra dry stout would probably be some sort of roast beast, but there is no point in trying to make the perfect pairing every time. Some time you just have to sit back and enjoy.
The beer is like chocolate milk made with semi-sweet chocolate. It has a bigger body and more sweetness than its sessionable little brother, but still retains some bitterness on the back-end. I’d say the bitterness probably comes from the roast malt or barley, and not from any hops as you would expect from a stout from across the pond. It is very smooth with a medium to medium low amount of carbonation. The dark flavors went well with the kale and the root vegetables in the soup. It also added a bit of roastiness that a vegetable soup sans meat might be missing. It also has a nice warming alcohol feel that is good for any cold day. All in all, this was a great winter meal, and only a fire could have made it better.