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Seven Surprising Facts about Guinness

By June 7, 2019November 24th, 2021No Comments

Guinness Is Good For You!

Whether you enjoy a pint of Guinness on a regular basis, occasionally take a sip, or have never acquired a taste for this bittersweet, malty tasting, black looking beer, cobbled together below are eight interesting facts about Guinness that might surprise you.

Because I own a walking company and visit Ireland often, and because the locals in Ireland seem to substitute Guinness for water, I’ve had ample opportunity to enjoy a pint or two myself. My first taste of Guinness was at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, way back in 1972.  The pints were free, and you could enjoy as many as you liked!  Enjoying a Guinness straight from the tap in Dublin is a must for Guinness Lovers or those trying it for the first time.

Guinness in Ireland

Okay, so here are seven interesting facts about Guinness.  Please note that the seventh “fact” comes from the mouths of a group of true Irish folks gathered around a large table in O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin, a small fishing village in County Clare, Ireland.  They were a happy group and, through example, strove to prove the eighth “fact”.

  1. Guinness draught was first introduced in 1959.  What made its introduction a bit special was that it was the first beer to use nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide.
  2. Guinness may look like a “black” beer, but in reality, its color would be classified as a shade of ruby, it’s color coming from the use of dark-roasted barley.  Although I take this as fact, I must admit I’ve never held a pint of Guinness up to the light, such as there is in a pub, and thought of rubies!
  3. The Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, has a 9,000  year lease. I’m guessing that they had an inkling of how popular Guinness would be, particularly to the Irish.  Oh, yes, I’m half Irish, so I include myself when I refer to “the Irish”.
  4. Think the Irish drink a lot of Guinness? Thirty percent of all Guinness is sold in Africa and is called Foreign Extra Stout.  Sold in 150 countries, Guinness has a worldwide following.
  5. Conscious of your figure and how many calories you imbibe with each beer?  Worry no more.  There are only 125 calories in a pint of Guinness while there are 110 calories in a Bud Light.
  6.  Bartenders around the world are presented with instructions on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.  There are six crucial steps in this process.
    1. First, find a Guinness-branded glass with the harp logo on it. Using a Guinness-branded glass is important.  These “branded” glasses show the Guinness Harp with the straight edge to the left.  This is just opposite to the official harp symbol used by the Republic of Ireland.  The harp on the Guinness Glass is important to the whole process
    2. Hold the Guinness glass at a 45 degree angle.
    3. Pour the draught Guinness by pulling the tap forward, angling the flow of Guinness to the inside of the glass directly at the harp logo.  The 45 degree angle of pour makes for small bubbles and a smoother and creamier head.
    4. Once the Guinness touches the bottom of the harp logo, start straightening the glass so it’s upright when the black gold reaches the top of the harp.
    5. Now – this is IMPORTANT! Place the pint glass of Guinness on the bar and wait for – 119.53 seconds, no more and no less.
    6. Topping off the glass is different than the first pour.  Now you push the tap away from you.  This halves the force of flow so you don’t destroy too many of the small bubbles.
    7. You can show your true Irish heritage if you draw a Shamrock Leaf on the top of the creamy head.
    8. And, now the best part, tasting the freshly poured Guinness.  It’s said that the best flavor combination of the creamy head and bittersweet brew comes by taking the first sip with the glass horizontal.  I think they’re right!
  7.   This “fact” comes from my personal experience enjoying Guinness both in Ireland and in a variety of places throughout the U.S.  Guinness in the U.S. just doesn’t seem to taste as good as it does when I’m in Ireland.  I’m “told” that for Guinness to be at its best, it needs to be “fresh”, meaning it cannot sit in the beer lines for too long.  To me, that makes  sense.  In Ireland, Guinness is like medicine and must be taken at regular intervals throughout the day and week.  While popular in the U.S., and probably more “fresh” in Irish Pubs in large American cities, generally Guinness is not “pulled” from the tap as regularly in the U.S. although I try to help alleviate this challenge as often as possible.

So, there you are.  At this point, I hope I’ve enticed you to head out for a Guinness just to test the “freshness” of a pulled pint for yourself.  On the sides of many buildings in Ireland, there are large graphics stating that “Guinness if Good For You!”  The only way to determine the truth of that adage is to try a few pints of Guinness yourself!

Caide Mille Failte!


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P.S. If you’d like to try a Guinness for yourself from the fresh lines in Ireland, join our September 2-12, 2019, walking tour in Counties Clare and Kerry in SW Ireland.   You’ll be glad you did.  Walking Tour in Ireland

A special thank you to PublicDomainPictures.net for use of their photo of six pints of Guinness waiting 119.53 seconds before being topped off.