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Drinks: Cheers to Guinness

About 1.8 billion pints of Guinness are poured each year. From the Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the view always is very, very good.

So, when Guinness introduces a new brew, it's a matter of import. Enter Guinness Black Lager.

This is like a mellow, lighthearted, refreshing relative of the immortal Guinness, which, as the classic ad states, "is good for you." If you love the original, the Black Lager will seem like a curiosity. It's a pleasing spin on the theme of lager, and well-made. "Cold brewed" the label specifies, as if you're considering an alternative to Coors Light. But there's flavor here. Consider the Black Lager a likable introductory brew before you're ready for the grand, real thing. About $11 for a six-pack.

Each Samuel Adams release automatically sparks interest in anyone who has had a Boston Lager. Two spirited new ones are from the "Barrel Room Collection," a toasty and aged group. Samuel Adams New World is a flavor-packed, gilded dry ale, big, fruity and herbal. Samuel Adams 13th Hour is a lush stout, Belgian-style, with spice notes plus hints of coffee and chocolate. Each 750-ml bottle is about $10.

And Bohemia, the smooth Mexican brew, currently honors the artist Frida Kahlo with a limited-edition bottling. The neck label has a gold-hued portrait of Kahlo and images from her work. Apparently, Kahlo liked the beer, too. Reliable Bohemia is a Mexican beer with a Czech name that's owned by Heineken. A six-pack of the Frida Kahlo bottles is about $8.

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