The Colorado brewhouse partnered with a small brewery in Northern Ireland to bring an authentic dry Irish stout home for St. Patrick's Day.
Breckenridge Brewery reached out to Boundary Brewing Cooperative in Belfast, Ireland, in order to brew its seasonal Nitro Dry Irish Stout. Photograph by Mike Tish
Style: Dry Irish Stout
Serving Type: 15.2-ounce can
ABV: 4.8 percent
Hop Meter (1–10): 2
Malt Meter (1–10): 6.5
Reviewed: March 2017
About one year ago, Breckenridge Brewery debuted its Nitro Series, and in doing so it became one of the few craft breweries in America to offer nitro-style beers in a can. This St. Patrick's Day, Coloradans can to skip the Guinness for a new, local nitro brew: Breckenridge Brewery's Dry Irish Stout, which was created in a collaboration with Matthew Dick, the head (and authentically Irish) brewer from Boundary Brewing Cooperative in Belfast, Ireland. This stout makes for a light, easy-to-drink option, and what's quite exciting is that, thanks to Breckenridge's can technology, it's portable. Finally, nitro-lovers don't have to fight through a crowded bar in order to get their fix.
The tale of this collaboration begins with Breckenridge Brewery's director of sales and marketing, George O'Neill, who is from Ireland and still has family that resides across the pond. O'Neill first heard about Dick's cooperative brewing company through those connections. As the Breckenridge team planned out its seasonals for the Nitro Series, spokeswoman Terry Usry says it seemed natural to collaborate with Boundary. "The reason for the collaboration was to give a little bit of authenticity to the product," says O'Neill. "For me, it was really crucial that we had a real Irish influence."
Contact was made between the two breweries last fall, which led to Dick traveling to Littleton, Colo., where Breckenridge Brewery is headquartered, from Belfast. At the Farm House, he spent about a week working with brewers as they crafted the Dry Irish Stout. "Brewers love to collaborate," Usry says. "We couldn't have been happier with how this turned out, with both sides sharing ideas and learning from each other."
The addition of the Dry Irish Stout to Breckenridge's repertoire means Guinness isn't consumers' only option for a nitro dry Irish stout from the liquor store. And on Dick's end, this partnership is a way to grow his American- and Belgian-inspired brewery in the U.S. market.
Boundary Brewing knows a thing or two when it comes to stouts: In 2016, RateBeer.com named Boundary’s Export Stout the best beer of Northern Ireland. The same website also recognized Boundary Brewing as Northern Ireland’s top brewer. Their expertise shows in this collaboration brew. The flavor profile is very much true to style—light, dry, and easier to drink than coffee or imperial stouts.
Still, I approach bottled or canned nitro beers with skepticism for one simple reason: It’s really hard to package a nitro brews without compromising flavor. Here, I think the result is a pretty balanced beer, and one that definitely favors drinkability. The nitrogen-charged can gives this brew a creamy body and very smooth mouthfeel, but it’s almost too smooth, to the point where it nearly tastes flat. Overall, it’s a good traditional dry Irish stout, and its drinkability makes it great for a sunny St. Patrick’s Day.
Breckenridge and Boundary's Nitro Dry Irish Stout are available anywhere Breckenridge beers are sold, and will continue to be stocked until the next seasonal takes its place. To find it on tap, use the Breckenridge Brewery Beer Locator.
The Ideal Drinker: Anyone who wants to drink a stout and not feel like they’ve eaten a small meal