The Beer Belly: Be The Beer!

Beamish Irish Stout

4.04 average, 119 votes
by John Carroll
2009 February 16

Beamish ConsistencyLike most beer drinkers I look forward to March and St. Patrick’s day as an excuse to get sloppy. I know a lot of real beer guzzlers think of St. Patrick’s day as an amateur drinker’s occasion- and I guess it is. Others consider it a day for reinforcing negative Irish stereotypes- and I guess it is. But it’s also an excuse to try some beers with an Irish heritage that you may not always drink on a regular basis. I like Guinness and Harp, but there are many more out there (see our St. Patrick’s Day feature for a running list of imports) so I went to the local beer distributor and picked up a four pack of Beamish Stout. And let me tell you- I appreciate Guinness more than ever.

Like Guinness, Beamish Stout comes in large cans with “widgets”. The widget, pioneered by Guinness, is a little spherical contraption in the can that contains nitrogen and beer. When opened, the capsule releases pressure and agitation in the beer occurs, creating the head. This occurs to simulate the taste and texture of a stout freshly poured from a tap (see our Guinness Draught review for a more detailed explanation). Also like Guinness, a can of Beamish should immediately be poured into a pint glass once it is opened to get the full effect. I don’t know if you can drink it directly from the can but I would not recommend trying it. Since I’ve never had a Beamish from the tap I can’t say how well the can version measures up to the tap, but I can say that it does not measure up very well to Guinness.

Oh sure, it’s dense, malty and dark with hints of chocolate flavor like any stout. But it does not finish well and seems a little watery when compared to Guinness… I might even venture to call it the light beer of stouts- but conversely, it has a slightly stronger “burnt coffee” flavor than other stouts. Guinness is the only beer that I can nurse. It’s so full bodied and packed with malty tastiness that it is easy to savor and enjoy slowly. Sadly, I cannot say the same for Beamish.

Beamish is brewed by Beamish & Crawford Brewery, Cork, Ireland.

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Can anyone tell me where to find beamish in the Dallas/fort worth area?

Caitlyn Beamish

Love beamish stout but can’t find it anymore

Rob Cowan

I like Beamish on tap. I have opportunities to buy it at a few places as well as other Irish Beers but they need to fuel the Chicago Irish Pubs, it would be a hit. I’m not a can drinker. My favorite Irish Emerald Stout is from the Great Dane in Madison Wisconsin. I consider it the best beer on earth. When I die I want to be embalmed with it. Cheers…… Rob Cowan, Deerfield, IL

Bill Bowersox

I started as a Guinness drinker. I first had a Beamish in a London pub because they didn’t have Guinness. Those of you who’ve had Beamish in the can aren’t drinking the same beer as the draft version. I’ve had it in the can and it’s not the same taste. It may have something to do with shipping. Given my choice of Guinness or Beamish, both on tap, Beamish wins every time. It has the body and flavor of Guinness but less of the bitterness. Less harsh aftertaste than Guinness and smoother in the mouth. That said, since I can’t… Read more »

jeff Darcy

Actually Heineken owns the rights to Murphy’s not Guinness. That’s why in all my local stores Beamish has now been replaced by Murphy’s stout. Heineken has closed the Beamish Brewery in Cork, the oldest in Ireland, and moved the brewing of Beamish to it’s more modern Murphy’s brewery also in Cork. Since this has resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs you can imagine the locals are understandably ticked off. Pretty dumb move on heinekens part. Because now that I can’t by Beamish I’m going to go back to drinking Guinness -not Murphy’s which ranks last of the three… Read more »


Both Abe’s and Shangy’s in the Lehigh Valley have Beamish. Shangy’s is a distriubter as well, and stocks kegs all the way from Phillipsburg to Philly.

Shangy’s Retail Beer Authority
40 E Main St
Emmaus, 18049
Phone: 610-967-6793


I’m feeling the exact opposite of Beamish. Finally found some stock in central NJ and poured a couple of pints last night. I feel it’s a lot smoother than Guiness without that metallic after-taste that I will forever notice. Too bad the last of the stock is being sold out everywhere in the US.


I tried Beamish for the first time last night. I’ve read everywhere that you can no longer get Beamish in the US, but I picked up a four-pack at the local Harris Teeter. Perhaps they’ve just not run out of a previous supply. Anyway, I must say that I agree with your review, especially in regards to its light body. For that matter (and maybe this is a result of the blazing hot fish tacos I ate before drinking), the beer seemed to lack all of the flavors that I love in Guinness. There was certainly a malty flavor, but… Read more »

michael quin

hi jeff unfortunly you wont be able to buy beamish out side ireland for a while ,beamish brewery has been taken over by heineken who also have the brewing rights to guiness out side ireland,so until that deal runs out they wont export beamish stout.

jeff achmoody

i had beamish in pittsburgh a couple of years ago and i loved it on tap i am a huge guiness fan but i liked beamish better it was super smooth and bold and was like nectar from the gods i also wont drink canned guiness its not the same but you already know that do you know where i can buy beamish now not in pittsburgh not in phillie and not in the carolinas can you help me id greatly appreciate it

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