Beer Tips: Scoring "Real" Guinness + Corona "Familiar" (Ziploc Baggie Sipping Optional)

Comments (0)


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM
click to enlarge Guinness Foreign Extra Stout And Black Lager - JGARBEE
  • jgarbee
  • Guinness Foreign Extra Stout And Black Lager

We've been hearing a lot about Guinness' new release, a shift into the realm of black lagers (historically known as German schwarzbier) that have been the microbrew buzz recently for their light body (like a lager) yet full-on dark stout flavor. But when we stopped by Wine Expo to pick up a bottle for a taste, resident beer and tequila expert Erik Moreno had some more interesting bottles on the shelves.

"This is what you're not hearing as much about with Guinness," he says, pointing us to a 4-pack of "Foreign Extra" Stout. "They released it five or so months ago more quietly, they're not really pushing it. This is the real deal. The stout is brewed in Ireland, not Canada like most of the Guinness here. My distributor kept telling me about the Black Lager, but I kept asking him about this -- he finally got it for me."

Many Guinness purists will tell you that the stout brewed in Ireland tastes better (Obama agrees). The real deal will say "Foreign Extra" on the label rather than the typical "Extra Stout." You're going to have to pony up the pennies for it. We paid nearly $10 for a 4-pack of the Foreign Extra Stout, about a dollar less for a 6-pack of "regular" Guinness in bottles (and yeah, unfortunately for our wallet, it was noticeably better).

click to enlarge Corona Familiar - JGARBEE
  • jgarbee
  • Corona Familiar

But what got Moreno really excited, perhaps somewhat surprisingly in light of his craft beer obsession, is Corona's "Familiar" bottling. "This is the Corona I grew up on when I visited my family in Mexico," he says, pulling out a chubby brown 1-quart glass bottle. "My aunts would hand over a bottle just like this one. The flavor is authentic, so much better than the Coronas you usually see in a [clear] glass bottle here because it keeps the light out. You'd drink it and then return the bottle. If you didn't bring back your bottle, you got your beer in a Ziploc baggie with a straw. "

Ziploc baggies and a straw? Now that sounds like Saturday afternoon beer fun. But what about the flavor? We often hear that light affects dark beers or those with complex flavors, but does sunlight really affect the flavor in such a light commercial beer? "I absolutely think flavor, even here, has a lot to do with the bottle. The regular Corona you find tastes skunky, almost musty. This one has an entirely different flavor." [Squid Ink Tasting Note: We wouldn't exactly say "entirely different," as it still tastes like a Corona -- although definitely a much better, full-flavored Corona.]

"We've been seeing more of this with beer, bringing back the old bottles and formulas," continues Moreno. "It's like the Coke you can get from Mexico now in the old bottles that's made with sugar. Pacifico has also brought back its old bottle. But what I'm really excited about is Victoria, another old brewery from Mexico, that's bringing its [original] bottles here in a few months." [Victoria debuted in Chicago and Texas last year; In the past few months it's been making the rounds in California.] Time to stock up on Ziploc baggies.

[More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com]

Related Location

Related Content


Now Trending


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.