The Temple Bar Pub’s Guide to Pouring the Perfect Guinness

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Mention Ireland to anyone and a few things spring to mind – one surely being Guinness.

You need two things to pour a proper Guinness: the right glass and plenty of patience. It’s going to take a couple of minutes, so don’t rush it or you’ll be disappointed.

The Right Glass?

Yes indeed. You’ll have noticed how Guinness glasses are tulip shaped – meaning they’re narrow at the bottom, blooming out in the middle then narrowing ever so slightly at the top.

And there’s good reason for that. 

The lovely creamy head you get with a good pint of Guinness is produced by the tiny nitrogen bubbles in the drink, with the shape of the glass helping them cascade to the surface.

The branded glasses are designed both for the advertising aesthetic and to help pour Guinness properly. Even the harp logo is there for a reason. It helps to measure the pour through its various stages, so you get that satisfying mix of dense, sweet froth with bitter, malty liquid.

Pouring the Perfect Pint of Guinness

So, how to pour Guinness for the best drinking experience?

Take it in stages:

  1. First Pour – angle the glass at 45 degrees, aim at the harp and pull the tap towards you for full flow. Let the Guinness flow gently down the glass. Slowly straighten the glass as it fills, keeping the spout out of the drink. Stop when it reaches the top of the harp.
  2. Let it Settle – put the glass down because it’s surge time and you get to enjoy the anticipation as the little bubbles swirl up to the top. This is where your patience comes in. It’ll be about a minute and a half before you’re ready to finish the pint.
  3. Topping Up – set the glass down under the spout and push the tap backwards for a gentler flow. Top up so the lovely foamy head just stands proud of the top of the glass.

And if you want to do things really properly, present the glass with the harp facing the one who’ll drink it. It all adds to the experience and anticipation.

That’s how to pour Guinness, but what about drinking it? Yep, there’s a right and wrong way there too.

The Guinness Flavour Punch

It’s still all about the bubbles, which is why such attention is paid to the pouring. The head needs to be the right size and density so you can really enjoy and maximise the flavours and textures in that first gulp.

  • Hold the glass horizontally. It helps if you stick your elbow out a bit. 
  • Take a nice big swallow, sucking in the silky bubbles and the beer beneath so they mix in your mouth.

Resist the temptation to sip at it so you just get either bubbles or beer. You want both in that first swallow.

As you drink your way down your first glass and start anticipating your second, you’ll notice the white bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass. And that’s just how it should be. It’s your sign that you – or your bartender – knows exactly how to pour Guinness.

Visit the Temple Bar Pub in Dublin to experience it yourself!

Cheers!