St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner and despite not being Irish I still really enjoy this holiday.  No matter if I go out and enjoy the festivities, St. Patrick’s day marks the end of winter and the start (or soon to start) of nice weather.  This year looks to be especially nice.  St. Patrick’s day is also a beer holiday.  By beer holiday, I mean a holiday where people often celebrate by consuming large amounts of beer.

I’ve started drinking Guinness again since they announced their beer was going vegetarian.  Along with that I’ve started enjoying all the different cocktails that contain Guinness.  One I especially like is the Black and Tan – also known as the Half and Half.  The Black and Tan originated in England where blending beers was historically more common.  The first known document use of the term Black and Tan was 1881.

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The Black and Tan is layered beer cocktail with a dry stout, typically Guinness, on the top and a pale ale, typically Bass on the bottom.  Now days Harp is also a common beer for the bottom layer and depending upon who you talk to the Black and Tan can be made using either a pale ale or a common lager beer.  The key to the Black and Tan is that the density of the stout on top is lower than the density of the beer on the bottom.  This is one of the reasons Guinness remains the primary stout for Black and Tans as many American stouts are much denser beers and wouldn’t work as well. Its also the reason I wouldn’t ever use “light” beer for my bottom layer.  For my black and tans I used Guinness on the top and Bent Paddle Venture Pils (Pilsner) as my bottom layer.

There are three ways to make a black and tan.  Well, its really just one way but using different tools.  I tried all three methods (the pictured one is from the Black and Tan Turtle) and put my notes on each below.

 

#1 – Straight Up Pour

1: Fill a pint glass up half way with pale ale (or lager).   Let the head settle.

2: Gently tilt the glass and slowly poor the stout down the side of the glass.

3: After the head on the stout settles, top off with additional stout.

Notes: This method was simple and I thought worked just as well as the spoon.  The line between the pilsner and the Guinness ended up a little crooked due to the tilt of the glass.

 

#2 – Use of a Spoon

1: Fill a pint glass up half way with pale ale (or lager).   Let the head settle.

2: Position a spoon upside down with the head hovering over the pale ale.  Slowly poor the stout onto the spoon.  The spoon will slow the flow of the beer, preventing mixing.

3: After the head on the stout settles, top off with additional stout.

Notes: I didn’t one of the special spoons, so I just used a basic kitchen spoon. I got the same results as the tilted glass method.  I thought this was the hardest way to make a black and tan due to the requirement to hold the spoon in the right place and also poor the Guinness.

 

#3 – The Black and Tan Turtle (bought mine off Amazon.com if you can’t find one)

1: Fill a pint glass up half way with pale ale (or lager).   Let the head settle.

2: Place the Black and Tan Turtle on top of the pint glass.  Slowly poor the stout onto the turtle.

3: After the head on the stout settles, top off with additional stout.

Notes: I’m sold on the Black and Tan Turtle as it gave me the cleanest divide between the two beers.  I found the cleaner the divide at pouring the cleaner the divide stayed as you drank the beer.  The Turtle was also super easy to use.

Making a Black and Tan

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