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The Dawson hosts Guinness's new Blonde American Lager

Can you believe it? Guinness, the diehard Irish stout, is making some new moves. Back in 2011 they brought their Black Lager to market, suggesting that it was a refreshing brew even though it was dark colored. Now they're taking a more expansive approach by partnering with a local U.S. brewery to create and introduce the newest in their "Discovery Series" of beers: Guinness Blonde American Lager.

Guinness introduces its new Blonde American Lager
Barbara Payne

As expected, it's a lighter brew with a taste that's light hops with a biscuit-y flavor with caramel and citrus notes. Unlike Guinness Stout (I can only drink one before I'm done), it won't fill you up quickly and that, along with its distinctive taste profile, makes it pair really well with food.

Tried some at The Dawson the other day and found it went amazingly well with a variety of dishes. From multi-flavored appetizers like Chicken & Pistachio Galantine (served on a savory pistachio biscotti with bitter organe mostarda), Hamachi Crudo (served on a spoon with pickled jalapeno and mango) and Peekytoe Crab & Carrot Salad (served on grilled carrot cake with peach), it complemented them all very nicely. Shockingly, it even went well with the desserts - Guinness cake with honey buttercream (num!) and orange caramel chocolate tart. Nice job on the food, chef.

Not being a regular beer drinker, I was very pleased with the way this Guinness Blonde tasted with all those lovely flavors. Congrats to the chef at The Dawson for the creative menu. Main courses included honey-brined pork (served with grilled fruit and smoky mustard greens), smoked chicken (with Swiss chard, chanterelles, and black truffle), and roasted salmon (a super-creamy-textured piece of fish served with grilled sweet potato, chile relish and sweet corn cream). All were beautifully prepared - the meats were succulent and tender - and made delicious combinations.

Guinness, owned by beverage giant Diageo, is reaching out to tap into the local-beer craze with its new brews. People these days are searching out "craft" brews and nearby breweries in line with the buy-locally trend. The new brew will be available on tap and in 12-ounce bottles; look for a big advertising hit to come next month.

The Dawson offers a comfortable but casually elegant venue for dining. I loved that they had single taper candles burning everywhere instead of short, little oil-filled ones. And while you're there, check out the huge patio sprinkled with white lights and divided into sections. It was a happenin' place when I was there on a Wednesday evening; I bet it's even more so on the weekends.