Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Art of Guinness

At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, we are taught the art of pouring a perfect Guinness:

1) Tilt the glass away from yourself at a slight angle, then pull the handle towards yourself, to aerate. Slowly straighten the glass while pouring, stopping when it reaches midway up the harp icon.
2) Let it sit several minutes and watch it turn from brown to black, as the bubbles settle.
3) Push the handle away from yourself to top it off, till the foam arcs above the top of the glass.

And there you have it. You can take me word for it; I must be an expert, because I have the certificate declaring that I can pour a perfect pint (certificate requirement: steep admission fee and approximately eight minutes of training).


The irony, of course, is that as soon as I pour the perfect pint, I give it to somebody else who might actually want to drink it. Not me. I can't stand the stuff. Too bitter, too bubbly. Before you gouge your eyes out with the high level of sacrilege you've just read, I would like to throw my Irish friend Brendan under the bus by telling you he's allergic to Guinness (and wool, too! Oh, the irony!).

The Storehouse used to be the actual place Guinness was manufactured along with a little tour and tasting room. Since my last visit here about 15 years ago, it has transformed into a full-on, state-of-the-art, extremely well-oiled tourist machine. But a fun one, nevertheless. Besides learning about the history of Guinness (including the factoid that the lease on the building is for 9,000 years), how it is made, and how to pour the perfect pint, there's also a bar upstairs with a 360° view of Dublin that can't be beat. Here you are at the top of what is billed as "the world's largest pint glass", since the building is now shaped like one. However, wouldn't a pint glass, by definition, always be the same size? You can ponder that while you head back down to the bottom of the glass, er, building, where there's an extensive gift store that sells, among other things, Guinness-infused chocolate truffles. Speaking from experience, we do not recommend these.

In one perfect village pub, the girls try on Guinness mustaches. That's as close as they want to get.

Despite not drinking Guinness, I am a huge fan, particularly because of the colorful advertising found all around the countryside. Basically, I love being all cozy in a pub with somebody else ordering a Guinness.

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