Black and Tan is a drink made from a blend of pale ale, usually Bass Pale Ale, and a dark beer, most often used is Guinness. Most people believe this mixture of two beers originated and is most commonly consumed in Ireland. This however is not the case. The style is believed to have originated in pubs in Britain, where drinkers ordered a mixture of dark stout and draught bitter.

The Black and Tan is a popular blend in American bars. The most common type of Black and Tan in the U.S. uses Bass Pale Ale and Guinness (not extra stout). To make a Black and Tan, fill a pint glass to a little more than half-full with Bass. Keep the glass at a tilt to avoid getting a head on the beer. Next, you must place a spoon over the mouth of the glass and slowly pour the Guinness over the spoon. The Guinness stays separated from the Bass and looks black on top and tan on the bottom. Hence the name, “Black and Tan.” A few American breweries have come up with premixed Black and Tans. One of the best known is Yuengling’s Black and Tan. However, the overall consensus on this by beer drinkers is that the Black and Tan is best when made by the drinker. Additionally, there is a specially designed Black and Tan spoon that can be used that is bent in the middle so it can balance on the edge of the pint glass for easier pouring. This makes constructing the Black and Tan much easier.

There are many variations to the Black and Tan. The Half and Half is also quite popular, especially in Ireland. This is made up of half room temperature beer and half chilled Guinness. Most Guinness served in Ireland is served at this temperature (about 44 degrees), as this is the perfect drinking temperature for Guinness. In the U.S., the Half and Half is made up of Harp Lager topped with Guinness. When you hear Half and Half in the U.S., it means both beers have come from the Guinness Brewery.

There are scores of other variations of the Black and Tan. The variations can be endless. Here are a few:

  • Stormy Pumpkin-Guinness poured over Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
  • Belgian Brunette-Guinness poured over Stella Artois
  • Black and Blue-Guinness poured over Blue Moon (however, if you are in New Orleans and ask for a Black and Blue, you will get Guinness poured over Pabst Blue Ribbon).
  • October Tan-Guinness poured over Samuel Adams Octoberfest
  • Black and Trash-Guinness poured over Budweiser

One last variation to the Black and Tan is the Baby Guinness Shot. This shot visually resembles a glass of Guinness. It is actually the opposite of the Black and Tan in color-The black is on the bottom and the tan is on the top. To assemble this shot, fill a shot glass 3/4 full with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur. Then fill the rest of the glass with Bailey’s Irish Cream, pouring slowly around the wall of the shot glass. This technique might take some practice. If done incorrectly, it looks like a bit of a mess. Done correctly though results in a shot with the look of a mini pint of Guinness beer with a head.