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Homage to Guinness

Posted by dave


I wanted to share just a few words regarding one of my new favorite to-drink brews – good, old fashioned, always-there Guinness. I’ve been a Guinness drinker for some time now (being a regular at the Philadelphia Guinness Believers events) but I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding the beer of beers, and why I love it so much.

Guinness is certainly not the beer that beer snobs pay much attention to. It was originated for the masses, often was used as a carb-substitute for families that could afford Guinness and not bread (although it was much more watered down then) and you have to count the number of pints pounded by the hundred-millions. In a North vs. South struggle, Ireland splits its loyalties between Guinness and Murphy’s, but that’s not really the topic of discussion right now.

I think I know why it is I’m drawn to this beer – it’s that it is about one of the only beers I have ever tried that tastes good at room temperature. When not partying at super-high levels, I tend to enjoy my drink. I don’t pour a beer and then stare at an empty glass 3 minutes later – on the contrary – a pint might last me a good half hour if the sipping-mood strikes me.

But for most beers, it’s equivalent to drinking room-temperature coffee. You kind of want to get at coffee when it’s hot (or iced) and not when it has settled to room temperature. The same goes for beer – the icer and colderer (made up some words there) the beer is, the better.

That’s not true for Guinness. As a matter of a fact, in certain parts of the world, Guinness is served at room temperature – and if you got the right couple of Guinness zealots in the same room together, you could probably see them come to blows about the correct temperature to serve a pint. Guinness, for its part, doesn’t care, and recently introduced Guinness Extra Cold (just Guinness shot through a super-cooler) so – you know, have it however you like it.

For me though, it’s the core beauty. The roasted barley taste is of course a wonderful thing, and I seem to be skipping over the entire idea of flavor here altogether. But don’t be fooled – it’s that Guinness retains it’s smokey great flavor at just about any temperature. That means there’s no rush to drink, no hurry to indulge. The same pint can be enjoyed for a drawn-out period of time (in beer-drinking parlance anyway) and at the end, you’re still ENJOYING it.

So, since we usually don’t tap on the most famous of beers around here, but I’ve been having myself a Guinness pint regularly recently, I thought I’d just give a hat-tip to this almost 250 year old beer. And don’t get too upset if your local bar doesn’t know how to properly pour a Guinness – it still tastes pretty damn good.


Posted in Beer, Stout


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  1. James said:

    I just returned from a week in Ireland that included a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. First off, as someone who has been on an absurd amount of brewery tours, this one blew them ALL away – a perfect balance of high-tech and old equipment. The culmination on the roof of the factory with a 360-degree view of Dublin shouldn’t be missed by any beer-loving visitor to the Emerald Isle!

    But more importantly, as I had heard before I left, the Guinness was better in Ireland. Many Irish insisted that it was the way it was poured but I am a careful observer of my Guinness pours stateside and am positive that the correct conventions are being observed. The difference was not so much in the flavor of the beer but the thick and creaminess of the head. My wife and I opined after our first few days that the best draughts of Irish Guinness were the first and last – the foamy mustache and the last little glob of head sliding down the glass – pure heaven.

    Like you, I consider Guinness my “go to” beer when I’m feeling indecisive at the moment of ordering and have nothing but the highest respect for this monumental brew. That many micro/craftbrew nuts dismiss it is a shame but to be sure it isn’t one of them, being one of the bestselling beers worldwide. But to be a bestselling beer and retain a unique character and incredible flavor – to me that deserves even more respect. It’s not the american pisswater that gets shipped worldwide.

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