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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.
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.
So, how to pour Guinness for the best drinking experience?
Take it in stages:
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.
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.
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!