Here’s something that’ll royally f*ck with your brain: a microbrewery has invented a ‘back-to-front’ Guinness.
Liverpool-based Team Toxic are responsible for the jarring creation, named Sinistral, which has a white body with a black head and resembles a glass of milk topped with bubbling tar.
Yet Gazza Prescott and Sue Hayward’s ‘reverse stout’ apparently tastes delicious, and the brewing pair have been inundated with orders.
Hayward said of people’s reactions to Sinistral:
People see it being poured and think ‘what the hell is that?’, and they’re usually so intrigued that they have to try it.
It’s rich, cakey and chocolatey – but the most important thing is it tastes unmistakeably like beer, which is what we set out to do.
Sinistral – which means left-handed – came about from Hayward’s discontentment with the world’s white stouts.
They are usually brewed by leaving out the dark, heavily roasted grains that lend beers like Guinness their appearance – however, they’re often more golden or pale amber in colour.
It became ‘a bit of a bugbear’ for Hayward. ‘We wanted to brew a white stout that’s actually white, a reverse Guinness if you like,’ the 53-year-old explained.
The pair have cooked up just 1,200 litres of their liquid conundrum, but don’t expect to find out how they did it – their recipe is a closely-guarded secret.
I can’t tell you how we did it, but it’s all about the types of grain we used and a specific brewing process to get that very pale, almost opaque appearance.
Gazza and I have been brewing for 10 years and we had an idea of how we could pull this off. We were going to do a little test brew but in the end decided to go for it.
We were pretty sure we’d got the recipe right – and we pulled it off first time. It’s hard to get your head round it at first, but it really does taste like a stout – it’s not just a glass of white liquid that looks cool.
As for the ‘completely edible, natural and vegan’ black head… that’s another secret. ‘A lot of people think it’s squid ink, but they’re wrong. We’re not telling!’ Hayward said.
Only a few bars that have been regular customers for Team Toxic are getting the chance to try out Sinistral, but Hayward says the response has been overwhelming.
It’s a very Instagrammable beer, and pouring it is a fantastic bit of theatre. It’s certainly got us noticed by people who had never heard of us before.
People I’ve been trying to sell beer to for years without success were suddenly messaging asking where they could get Sinistral.
The truth is, it’s going out to our favourite, most loyal customers for now. We might not brew it again for a year and make people wait for it!
Supply and demand is the name of the game, after all. Over the past decade, experimental craft breweries have been taking the British beer industry by storm.
According to the Society of Independent Brewers, 1,000 new UK breweries have opened in the last five years alone.
Calls for a pint.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.