03 September 2013

Pour a Perfect Pint

Most people who drink it will tell you, there is a real method behind pouring the perfect pint of Guinness, though, I would venture, not many of us know just what that method is aside from pour some, let it sit, pour some more. Then, of course, wait until it settles to drink it (or risk getting yelled at!).

If you visit Dublin, it is well worth it to visit the Guinness Storehouse and learn the exact science behind pouring a pint. The Guinness property spans many blocks -- on one side of Thomas Street you'll see the old factory buildings on one side, and the current factory on the other. It is quite amazing to think all of this is made so close to the City Centre (just a quick walk away).

As you walk up to the Guinness Storehouse to begin your tour, you'll be traveling across very old cobblestone streets. You'll also be dodging some horse-drawn carriages (and the treats they have left behind), so watch your step. Throughout the days I was there, I could often smell a heavy scent of yeast... if it turns your stomach a bit as it did mine, don't worry too much as it does let up once you get inside.

The tour experience itself is fine -- you start by looking at the 9,000 year lease that was signed (great rent control!), they have some cool motion-sensor story tellers, and you can walk through and read all about the various mechanisms used to make Guinness. Then, finally, you reach a floor where it is time to taste!

Despite my great concentration... I still messed up
We first went to the tasting room. It was a cool chamber wherein they first have you smell the various essences that make up Guinness, then give you a small glass of Guinness. As they talk, they ask you to taste -- very similar to a wine tasting...roll it around on your tongue, wait for the finish, etc. It was a cool little detour from the main event...

...of pouring the perfect pint! You stand in a quick-moving line, where they instruct you, several times, to write your name clearly on this little notepad they are handing out. The importance of this becomes apparent later. You end up in a group of about 16 people, and are soon directed to a bar counter with two working taps. The kind bartender explains the method to the madness, then a few volunteers get up to pour the first pints.

But, never fear, everyone in the group gets a chance. I guess I should have paid more attention, as I was the only one to get reprimanded for doing it wrong. Go figure.

About 5 minutes later, the pints are poured and settled, and we are all now certified Guinness pourers. Armed with this knowledge and our perfect pint (which...I pity the person who mistakenly took my pint because she didn't pay attention to where she set hers down, and moved to quickly for me to grab it out of her hand -- it probably didn't taste too good because of the aforementioned wrong pour), we were free to roam in this little pub-like space, or head upstairs to the bar.

I highly, highly recommend doing the latter. You will never get a view like that of Dublin, and being able to enjoy it with a pint of Dublin's city drink.

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