Perfect for a long day of drinking, Comfort Hunter is a light bodied beer with a dry, roasty, espresso-like finish. We carbonated this usually nitrogenated style for an extremely bright and refreshing experience most don't expect from a Dry Irish Stout. Stouts stemmed from the porter family of England in the 1800s, with brewers creating stronger and roastier versions first called stout porters and eventually just stout. Though many porters and stouts are still pretty close in color and flavor, we can look to the addition of unmalted roasted barley in stouts as one of the main differences in their recipes.
The first use of it is often attributed to Arthur Guinness. In Ireland, Arthur (we are great friends--he calls me at home) started adding highly kilned unmalted barley to his stout porters as a way of avoiding the taxes placed on malted barley. Technologies in malt kilning had recently advanced and became far more precise. For consistency, brewers switched to using large amounts of the lightly kilned and highly fermentable pale malt to provide the sugar necessary for fermentation and smaller amounts of the more highly kilned dark malted barley to tweak color, flavor and body. By replacing some of the latter with unmalted (which meant untaxed) roasted barley to contribute to the darker color and roasty flavors, it saved Arthur a bit of money in taxes. Others followed suit and the Dry Irish Stout developed, along with many others in the stout family (oatmeal, milk, imperial, etc).
Beer often replaced meals for Irish laborers, and stout was a favorite for its low alcohol content necessary to get through the work day...or through a long day of sitting in the pub if they were out of work or retired like Crebs and Andy.
Dry Irish Stouts are light bodied dark ales with a slight acidity that makes it very drinkable. Many mistakenly think it is a very heavy and caloric style since commercial versions often have a very rich and creamy mouthfeel. Dry Irish Stouts are actually very low in calories compared to many beers, since they typically have a lower alcohol content. Less alcohol usually means less carbs and calories in comparison to a higher alcohol content beer. You make beer by converting starches into sugar then converting that sugar into alcohol. A lower alcohol content beer means less starch and sugar went into the making of it.
The creamy rich effect that makes most Dry Irish Stouts so filling and seem heavy is created by nitrogenation--the use of mostly nitrogen gas to form the bubbles as opposed to the usual all CO2 used for almost every other style.
However, we like the punch of flavor, bite and drinkability imparted by CO2, so we carbonate all our beers and steer clear of nitrogenation, even for our Dry Irish Stouts. This makes for an extremely bright and refreshing experience most don't expect from the darker beer.