Black and Tan is an alcoholic “beer” drink, made from a combination of Stout and Ale.
The default beers used are Guinness for the stout, and Bass Ale for the ale. The Guinness used should be the Draught, not the Extra Stout.
In America, bartenders are careful to pour the beers together in a manner that causes them to “layer” in the glass. In England, the two beers are mixed thoroughly; there are no layers.
The beers layer because the two types of beers have different densities; the Guinness is less dense and so therefore floats on top.
The layering effect can’t really be achieved without a spoon. In America, you can buy special pouring spoons for this that have a crook in the handle that allow them to rest on their own on the glass.
You can also buy Black and Tan as a bottled drink, but the two beers are, of course, mixed English-style.
In England, a combination of Guinness and Newcastle Ale is often called a Black Castle;
Half and half: Guinness and Harp Lager;
In New South Wales, Australia, they might use Toohey’s New for the ale, and Toohey’s Old for the dark beer, and call it a Black and Tan
Black and Tan is not a popular drink in Ireland, though it has become popular in America on St Patrick’s Day.
In Ireland, they would make a half and half, or use half Smithwick and half Guinness and call it a Blacksmith.
A Smithwick’s with a Guinness head is a Smithwick’s topped off with an inch of Guinness.
Fill pint glass half full with the ale. To minimize foam, tilt the glass while you are pouring. Let sit a bit to dissipate foam if any appears.
Invert a tablespoon over the glass, and top the glass up with stout, pouring the stout slowly over the back of the spoon.
When making a Black and Tan at home, it’s important that the stout be chilled (sic), and that it come from a “charged” can (the kind that makes the noise when you open it), not a bottle. The bottled kinds won’t have the right viscosity to rest on top of the beer already in the glass.
In theory, this drink is named after the Black and Tan British police (the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force) in Ireland before Irish independence. The Guinness represents Ireland; Bass ale represents England.
The Oxford English Dictionary records the first usage of the term in 1889.
Before this, the term had been applied to dogs of certain colorations, such as hounds.