Liquor Laboratory

10 Best Beer for Black and Tan: Crafting the Perfect Pint (2024)

Best Beer For Black and Tan

When creating the perfect Black and Tan drink, the beer you choose is key. So, from our experiences and taste tests, we’re here to offer you some top-notch recommendations.

While the best beer for Black and Tan depends on your personal preference, you might want to consider the following Black and Tan beers that are sure to take your drinks to new heights.

Top 10 Beers For Black & Tan Cocktail

1. Guinness Draught Stout – Ireland

Man Holding Can of Guinness Draught Stout - Ireland

Average Price: Around $9/4-pack (Wine-Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 4.2% ABV

Nose: Roasted, malty

Palate: Smooth, creamy

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: The rich notes of Guinness Draught beers perfectly complement the sweetness of Bass Pale Ale. Its creamy texture creates a balanced, indulgent drink.

“Black and Tan is where stout’s depth meets ale’s soft elegance.” – Liquor Laboratory

This classic satisfies the palate. You can also try the Guinness Extra Stout for a complex drink.

2. Yuengling Traditional Lager – USA

Person Holding Bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager - USA and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $12.49/12-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV

Nose: Malt, chocolate

Palate: Velvety, sweet

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: When paired with Rogue Chocolate Stout, Yuengling beers provide a twist on the traditional Black and Tan.

If you’re craving something decadent, Yuengling will satisfy your taste buds and elevate your cocktail experience to a whole new level.

Read: Top Beers For Michelada

3. Samuel Adams Boston Lager – USA

Samuel Adams Boston Lager - USA Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: About $16.99/12-pack (Target)

Alcohol Content: 5% ABV

Nose: Caramel, chocolate, hops

Palate: Black velvet, crisp

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Samuel Adams adds a unique twist to the Black and Tan with its aromas and flavors. The hop character with subtle piney citrus enhances the overall flavor.

This lager provides a soft and delightful complement to a Black and Tan mix, making it one of our top choices for this classic cocktail.

4. Ireland’s Kilkenny Irish Cream

Person Holding Ireland's Kilkenny Irish Cream

Average Price: Roughly $189.99/Half-keg (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4.3% ABV

Nose: Creamy, malty

Palate: Velvety

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Kilkenny, hailing from the makers of Guinness, is a delightful addition to your Black and Tan. Its dark ruby-red color on the glass creates an inviting appearance.

When paired with a stout like Guinness, it gives a visually stunning Black and Tan. It elevates the iconic beer cocktail with a touch of Irish elegance.

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5. Murphy’s Irish Stout – Ireland

Pouring Murphy's Irish Stout - Ireland on a Glass

Average Price: Around $7.99/4-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4% ABV

Nose: Sweet chocolate, malty

Palate: Silky, crisp

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Murphy’s Irish Stout gives your Black and Tan a unique twist, especially when poured with Harp Lager. Its sweeter taste adds depth to the classic blend.

This beer is easier on the stomach without sacrificing the iconic layered look. Murphy’s Stout is a genuine dry Irish-style stout, bringing character to every jet-black pint glass.

6. Bass Pale Ale – England

Bottle of Bass Pale Ale - England

Average Price: Around $14.49/12-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 5.1% ABV

Nose: Nutty, chocolate

Palate: Slightly sweet, balanced

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Bass Pale Ale’s chestnut hue and nutty, caramel aromas complement the smoothness of Guinness Draught in a Black and Tan drink.

We like the balance of sweetness and the English hop finish, adding depth to the traditional Black and Tan drink.

Tip: As an alternative for Bass, try Anchor Steam Beer, Blue Moon, or Magic Hat for more twists. 

7. Harp Lager – Ireland

Man Holding Harp Lager - Ireland

Average Price: Roughly $9.99/6-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 5% ABV

Nose: Crisp, clean

Palate: Refreshing, balanced

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Harp Lager’s refreshing clarity complements the slightly sweeter profile in a Black and Tan. We enjoy the smoothness and lightness, maintaining the iconic layered appearance.

If you’re after a lighter beer without sacrificing the aesthetics of Black and Tan, Harp Lager is a winner. We prefer this lighter beer to Blue Moon beers.

8. Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale – Ireland

Person Holding Bottle of Smithwick's Irish Red Ale - Ireland

Average Price: Approximately $9.49/6-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV

Nose: Malts, hops

Palate: Balanced, gentle

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Smithwick’s boasts a distinctive Ruby Red color, which adds a unique twist to your Tan Black.

The hops’ gentle bitterness complements the malt’s sweetness, enhancing the overall Tan Black experience. But do you know what’s a beer garden?

9. Newcastle Brown Ale – England

Bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale - England on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Around $16.49/12-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4.7% ABV

Nose: Toffee, caramel, chocolate

Palate: Soft, rich

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Newcastle brings richness to the cocktail. Its soft, full-bodied character pairs wonderfully with the creaminess of Guinness Draught.

This combination results in a well-rounded, indulgent drink that is perfect for savoring. So, we recommend Newcastle for classic Black and Tans instead of the Mississippi Mud.

Read: What Kind of Beer is Guinness?

10. Boddingtons Pub Ale – England

Person Holding Can of Boddingtons Pub Ale - England

Average Price: Around $8.49/4-pack (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 4.6% ABV

Nose: Floral hops, malty, coffee

Palate: Silky, sweet

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Boddingtons Pub Ale’s golden amber hue and creamy texture bring a delightful twist. The bittering hops on the finish add complexity to the overall layered flavor.

“Prohibition makes you want to cry into your beer and denies you the beer to cry into.” —Don Marquis, American Philosoper

We like how this beer enhances the classic Black and Tan experience, giving a velvety and flavorful option. So, we like this over Anchor Steam beer.

*Note: The star rating was determined based on a blind test, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Each product was evaluated on its quality, flavor profile, complexity, smoothness, and enjoyment.

FAQs Related to Best Beer for Black and Tan

Which beer goes first in Black and Tan?

In a Black and Tan, pour the stout like Guinness first, allowing it to settle, and then add the lagers or ales (like the Bass Pale Ale), gently on the half to the top, using the back of the spoon for the layer effect.

How do you layer a Black and Tan beer?

To layer a Black and Tan, half-pour the stout (e.g., Guinness) into your glass. Slowly add equal parts lager/ales by pouring it gently over an upside-down spoon, allowing it to rest on half to the top.

Can you make a Black and Tan with a pilsner?

You can make a Black and Tan with a Pilsner (like Pilsner Urquell. But, a traditional Black and Tan is typically made with darker beer, mainly stout beers and a pale ale or lager [1].

What does Black and Tan beer taste like?

A Black and Tan tastes roasted with slightly bitter flavors, like coffee. It has slightly sweet notes, but the exact flavor varies depending on the specific beers [2] used.
But what beer can you give someone who doesn’t like beer?

Can you recommend specific beer styles for making a Black and Tan?

For the darker layer, choose a rich and flavorful stout or porter with notes of roasted malt and chocolate. For the lighter layer, opt for a crisp and refreshing pale ale or lager that contrasts nicely with the darker beer.

What are some popular beer combinations for making a Black and Tan?

Popular combinations include Guinness Stout with Bass Pale Ale or Harp Lager, as well as other stout and pale ale pairings like Smithwick’s and Harp Lager or Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Guinness Stout.

Are there any specific techniques for layering the beers in a Black and Tan?

To achieve distinct layers, pour the lighter beer slowly over the back of a spoon held just above the surface of the darker beer in a tilted glass. This helps minimize mixing and create a visually appealing presentation.

Are there any tips for serving a Black and Tan to maximize enjoyment?

Serve your Black and Tan in a pint glass or specialty glass designed for layered beer cocktails. Enjoy it slowly to savor the contrast of flavors between the dark and light layers.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of a Black and Tan?

While the traditional Black and Tan is made with beer, you can create a non-alcoholic version using non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beer substitutes. However, the flavor profile may differ from the original.

Key Takeaways

When crafting the perfect Black and Tan, nothing beats the darker beer – Guinness Stout. We like the rich and soft character of Guinness, making every sip a delight.

But don’t limit yourself; there’s a whole world of beer waiting to be explored. Try different combinations and discover your signature blend. Enjoy!


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