How to drink Guinness like the Irish

“Drink Guinness” is never something you’ll see on top of my to-do list. It 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 then I’ll 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

Carlingford in Ireland's Ancient East

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.

Remember how I said that years of practice were required in order to perfectly appreciate the black stuff? That’s where it comes handy.

From the edge to the logo.

From the logo to where the glass starts tapering.

From this spot to the first half of the bottom part.

And to the very last drop.

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:

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.

Irish pubs in Ireland

The Irish appreciate the craft and effort synonymous with their beloved black libation. I too admire the patience it takes to craft a perfect pint of Guinness, even though downing a pint in 4 gulps isn’t in my short-term (or let’s be honest here, any sort of term) plans.

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