The art of drinking Guinness

Posted on 06. Jul, 2012 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Ireland, Press Trips

© Eva Grosso

Most of you probably know that drinking Guinness really isn’t my favorite sport. I’ll take a sip, work my face in unflattering and disgusted grimaces, hear my friends shoo and tell me I’m a filthy pagan, and put the pint back on the table.

That’s just how it is. I hate Guinness.

But it’s not because I highly despise its taste that I can’t appreciate its protocol.

You see, a pint of Guinness is not something you simply fill up, and drink in the space of a second. It requires appreciation, a great deal of technique, and even perhaps years of practice to master what truly is, in my sense, a form of art.

Crafting the perfect pint of Guinness

If you’ve had a pint of the popular stout in the past, you’ve probably noticed that it takes a little while longer to get than most beers. An authentic pint of Guinness means patience, and talent.

Why so? Because there are actually four very precise steps to follow in order to get the perfect pint. I wasn’t kidding at all when I said it was art!

  1. Serve it in an official Guinness tulip-shaped pint. Anything not identified as such is not worthy of the black drink!
  2. Open the tap, place your pint at a 45 degree angle, and fill the pint up to the harp above the Guinness logo. No more, no less.
  3. Put the pint on the bar. Yes, even if it’s not full. Yes, even if it feels weird at first. And most importantly, make sure no one touches it, as the stout needs to settle for about two minutes before it’s ready for the next step. Or, according to the company, exactly 119.53 seconds. Slapping away the hands of the curious or addicts is highly encouraged by the Irish community. No one messes with a Guinness in progress.
  4. Lastly, push on the tap again, and very slowly fill the pint to the very edge, to create the famous creamy, dome-shaped head.

Souvenirs of my visit to the Storehouse

Drinking Guinness… Irish style

Remember how I said that years of practice were required in order to perfectly appreciate the black stuff? That’s where it comes handy. Because if you really want to drink Guinness the Irish way, you have to do it in no more than 4 sips.

Yes. You read that right. 4 gigantic sips - gulps, really. And not just random ones. Your sips should be as follow:

  1. From the edge to the logo.
  2. From the logo to where the glass starts tapering.
  3. From this spot to the first half of the bottom part.
  4. And to the very last drop.

This is not a myth, people. I’ve seen it happen live, several times and in different areas of Ireland. The Irish men take their Guinness very seriously, and practiced for years before getting to this point. It’s actually pretty impressive to watch.

Some Irish people might have a drinking problem, but they still appreciate the craft, and effort, behind their beloved black stuff. I too admire the patience it takes to craft a perfect pint of Guinness, even though drinking a Guinness in 4 gulps isn’t in my short-term (or let’s be honest here, any sort of term) plans.

But hey, I gotta start somewhere. If President Obama can do it, so can I!

In Galway with my half-pint of Guinness. I drank half.

Do you like drinking Guinness? Have you been to either the storehouse or an authentic Irish pub in the past?

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12 Responses to “The art of drinking Guinness”

  1. Abby

    06. Jul, 2012

    I am more of a wino than I thought, because I honestly had no idea of any of this! And I thought I was at least aware of other forms of drinking lol.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      10. Jul, 2012

      Me too - while I know all about Guinness I can’t drink more than a mini sip for the life of me, haha.

      Reply to this comment
  2. I know people who get infuriated when the bartender improperly pours their Guinness.

    Reply to this comment
  3. What!?! four sips!? that would never happen. Most people have 4 beers before I even finish 1. I used to yell at my ex cause we would split a 6 back and i would only get 1 cause I am so slow!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      10. Jul, 2012

      I KNOW. I can barely drink one sip of Guinness, let alone 4 giant ones, haha.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Turtle

    27. Jul, 2012

    The only reason I can’t drink Guinness is that I can’t wait that long while the barman pours it!! :)

    Reply to this comment
  5. Keith

    14. Sep, 2012

    All these years of drinking the black gold, and I never knew it was to be in no more than 4 sips! (hanging my head in shame).

    Reply to this comment
  6. akshay

    17. Mar, 2014

    4 sips!! That would be fun. I have tried Guiness twice, can’t say i am a big fan. But all this background and tradition does make it more exciting

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      25. Mar, 2014

      It really does. There’s so much tradition around Guinness, it’s half the fun!

      Reply to this comment

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