Monday, March 17, 2008

Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day all. Although we are supposedly all Irish today, I am one-fourth Malarky (my grandmother Sarah Malarky left County Mayo in the early 1900's for New York). Many suggest that I am actually more than one-fourth Malarky, however. I have been a bit disappointed at our local bartenders as to their willingness to serve up less than adequate pints of Guinness even on St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps having spent some time in Ireland having a well poured pint of Stout in a truly Irish Pub - be it Beamish, Murphy's or Guinness - I have seen and experienced the joy of a fine beverage in the perfect setting. Clearly, I can't expect to get the highest quality Irish stout on tap in Charlottesville (it is a long way from the brewery), or the best Irish pub experience, but I do expect to get a well presented pint ready to quench my thirst, and get at least some of the joy of a fine pint of Irish stout.

My experience is that in general, bartenders in Charlottesville do not consider presentation of a fine pint part of the customer experience. Pouring a pint of Guinness in one step and shipping it to the customer seems to be the standard here. The pint arrives with the pint glass filled with gas bubbles. Pints like this should only be provided to those who enjoy watching the bubbles subside and the contents of the glass settle time after time. This is more about science and less about thirst quenching. Like the pint above, this is not ready for drinking and when the bubbles and foam finally settle you have much less than the pint of stout you paid for and an unsightly crater of foam atop your short pint of stout.

I visited to the Guinness website and requested they send me their recommended method for pouring the perfect pint of Guinness so I could share it with my local bartenders. Here is the response from the Guinness folks in Ireland.

Dear Mr. Peter Kleeman,

Thank you for taking time to contact us regarding Guinness. We appreciate hearing from our consumers, whether comments be complimentary or critical, because your feedback is important.

In the pub or bar, the perfect pint of GUINNESS(r) Draught is served using our famous 'two-part' pour. First, start with a clean, dry glass. Pour the GUINNESS(r) Draught into a glass tilted at 45 degrees, until it is three-quarters full. Allow the surge to settle before filling the glass completely to the top. Your perfect pint, complete with its creamy white head, is then ready to drink.

At home, you should let the can chill for at least 3 hours before pouring the contents of the can into a large glass in one smooth action".

Once again, thank you for contacting us regarding Guinness. We will pass your comments on to the appropriate department for their review.


Holly K.
Consumer Response Representative

Here is a three-quarter full pint awaiting the surge to settle at the tap. As a customer, I am happy to await delivery of my pint until the second pour is added (and on occasion a shamrock image poured into the settled head on the stout - a very special treat I have only experienced outside of Charlottesville). I have had some limited success asking for a slow-poured Guinness on occasion at Rapture and at Shebeen but asking is the key.

So, all of you Irish for a day folks, I suggest you order a pint of Guinness and ask that you get a perfect pint of Guinness delivered ready to enjoy. If you enjoy Guinness year round, I hope you will help me out here and ask for a perfect pint every time. Maybe we will convince our local bartenders to provide that perfect pint of Guinness without having to ask for it every time. I'll drink to that!


CvilleTeach said...

Just wanted to let you know that i had two excellent pints at West Main on St. Patrick's Day. Both were poured correctly, and even had the faint shamrock (a heart for the lady) on top. Great post, and good to see that I'm not the only one who rants about how my pint should be poured.

Steve Ashby said...

Oi've hade too meny points, properly poured or no. Me wifie sez Oi must weigh 25 stone 6!