What makes the perfect Guinness? Is it the temperature of the beer? The method of pouring? The company the beer is enjoyed with? Or something else?
This is the time of year to be asking yourself the question. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, the holiday’s signature beer, Guinness, is once again on everyone’s mind. Visions of celebrating with this Irish brew dance through our heads. We might even sample a few Guinnesses early, just to make sure that our taste buds are in shape.
Many people enjoy Guinness year round. Others only drink it on St. Patrick’s Day as an homage to the Irish. Still others have never even tasted the beverage (and don’t know what they’re missing).
If you’re one of the masses hoping to celebrate with the cold, thick flavor of a delicious Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day, here are some factors that you should consider in your quest for the perfect drink.
If you’ve never tried Guinness before, and are planning to indulge for the first time this year, be warned that Guinness is not like other beers. It’s a stout (a bitter, dark, and somewhat creamy beer) that derives its burnt flavor from roasted barley. It’s not a drink for the faint of heart. If you can, get a half pint to start yourself off, or taste some beer from a willing partner. You might not like the beer at first, but keep trying; once you fall in love with Guinness, it will be a faithful companion for as long as you live.
Guinness is filling, so in order to best enjoy it, have it before you eat or drink it with a light meal (instead of a large breakfast, lunch or dinner). They don’t call beer “liquid bread” for nothing, and stout beers like Guinness are some of the heaviest beers out there.
There’s also something called the “perfect pint” or the “perfect pour,” which describes how a Guinness is best served. This refers only to Guinness that is pulled from a tap, because Guinness in a can or bottle does not qualify for perfect pint status. The perfect pour involves filling the tulip-shaped glass part of the way, then letting the beer sit until the first pour is done settling. After that, the glass if filled the rest of the way, forming just the right amount of foamy head. Some Irish pubs will even make a clover design on top of the beer for an extra-special touch.
Finally, Guinness is best enjoyed in company, preferably at your “local” (the British word for a pub that you personally like to frequent). So grab some friends, grab a glass, and enjoy a perfect Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day.
Please drink responsibly.