How to drink Guinness - our Saint Patrick's very own - OT - On Topic!!!! : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

And a top-o'-tha-morning to all you weeny Yanks on this day, our Saint Patrick's very own. Cheers!!

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How to drink Guinness
Friday 17 March 2000

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows and your meals are rare -
A pint of plain is your only man.
- Flann O'Brien

As sure as you open a newspaper or turn on the television today, you will find someone saying they are off to an Irish pub to "sip a Guinness". Unfortunately I barely passed kindergarten in the subject, so I can't claim to be an expert on drinking, but I can tell you one thing: YOU DON'T SIP GUINNESS.

There are lots of drinks you can sip, and you may even be given a straw to do the sipping with and the barperson may add a cherry or an olive, and there may be a little umbrella and a plastic thing to stir with, and you can sit there all day looking trendy and ending your sentences with prepositions. But if you notice someone sipping a Guinness, keep away: they might as well have the words "I hate this stuff" stuck to their back.

There is a proper way to pull a pint and a proper way to drink a pint. Tim Horan won some large quantity of beer by scoring a try in the rugby World Cup after 11 minutes - the time it takes to pull a pint properly. (Other drinks are poured, by the way; pints are pulled.)

Since you would need to go to TAFE for a number of years to qualify as a barperson, we will concentrate instead on the art of drinking a pint.

Let me take you to Murphy's of Baggot Street or Searson's of Ballsbridge, or one of the many other Dublin pubs still haunted by the ghosts of Brendan Behan, Flann O'Brien and Patrick Kavanagh, and we will watch a true pint drinker. We will call him Mick, because that is probably his name anyway.

Mick comes in with an evening paper under his arm. It is an item that is rare in Australia - the evening paper, I mean, not the arm. It specialises in back-page sports articles, mildly controversial and presented in short paragraphs, previews of the evening's television programs and a front-page screamer taken from some juicy case currently running in the courts.

Mick is known to the barman - I'm afraid the true pint drinker is a misogynist, even if he doesn't know what the word means - and there is a brief and probably silent communication, which you would need slow-motion replay to detect and David Attenborough to interpret. Eleven minutes later the perfect pint is placed on the counter and there is an unostentatious exchange of currency. Mick absently moves the pint a few centimetres, which Mr Attenborough would explain as a kind of proprietorial ritual, and continues reading his paper.

At last the moment comes. Keeping his head as still as a golfer on the first tee, he brings the pint to his lips and drinks slowly, the glass tilted at between five and seven degrees to the vertical. It is the same principle as a siphon: once the initial contact is made, the fluid flows smoothly and there is only the slightest movement of an Adam's apple to indicate that anything at all is happening.

There are different types of pint drinker and the expert may sometimes move from one to the other depending on mood or thirst. Like soccer teams of the old days, we can describe them as 4-4-2, or 5-3-2, the numbers representing the proportion of the pint that is consumed at each imbibing.

Occasionally, you may see a 6-2-2 formation (Brendan Behan's favorite), and in the rugby club after a game you will sometimes find one of the forwards showing off by putting all the men behind the ball for a 10-0. With the exception of the last, however, the perfect pint is consumed in three contacts, and I repeat what I said earlier: it is not sipped.

If you are sitting there in Murphy's or Searson's and doing your study of Mick and his colleagues, you may see an unfortunate who favors a 5-4-1 or 6-3-1 formation. He is best avoided. He is the person who has the price of only one pint and hopes that by leaving that small portion at the bottom, he will shame someone into buying him another.

The true pint drinker will have two or three, rarely more. If he does go to larger numbers and suffers the next day from the hammer that someone has inserted just behind his eyes, and which is trying desperately to get out, he will know where to lay the blame. He may have had a dozen pints the previous evening, but he will assure anyone who asks, "I must have had a bad pint last night."

The Bad Pint is at once the drinker's worst nightmare and his best excuse. It is usually said to have been put together by an unscrupulous landlord from the dregs of other drinks, in which case the customer will move to another pub, of which there will of course be no shortage. It may also result from an improperly pulled drink, and in some cases it is blamed on the IRA or the British secret service or, if the drinker is particularly well-read, it could be the work of the CIA.

The one cause that it never occurs to the true drinker to investigate is that you rarely get bad pints until you have consumed a certain number, usually six to eight depending on body weight and condition of liver.

At any rate, that doesn't take from my thesis about the proper way to drink a pint, because, like everything else in life, there will always be people who give the skill a bad name. Not quite in the same category, but just as reprehensible to the true expert, are those who sip Guinness. Even worse are those who admit it.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say that you need a change -
A pint of plain is your only man.

Frank O'Shea is a Canberra maths teacher and freelance writer.


The true pint drinker will have two or three, rarely more. If he does go to larger numbers and suffers the next day from the hammer that someone has inserted just behind his eyes, and which is trying desperately to get out, he will know where to lay the blame. He may have had a dozen pints the previous evening, but he will assure anyone who asks, "I must have had a bad pint last night."

'Begorrah' to you too from the dreg slurpers of OZ

-- Pieter (, March 16, 2000


Oh, yes. Before ye all bite my head off - it's OT - on topic because it's poetry, I tell ye Yanks 'tis juss so beautiful when it slides down-n-hits the spot! Hehehe - Bless Saint Patrick this day you bl***y pikers!

-- Pieter (, March 16, 2000.

yuck guinness is shite!

-- cin (, March 16, 2000.

Pieter (and the last sentence is just for you!)

In the spirit of your post and of the season, I'm adding a report that has a touch of physics and of aerodynamics for the pilots in the crowd. :) m/ap/topnews/ap899.htm

Guinness Mystery Puzzles Drinkers

By CAROLINE BYRNE, Associated Press Writer

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -- As the first of 10 million frothy pints of Guinness are raised Friday in St. Patrick's honor, one of life's intriguing scientific debates will inevitably follow: Why do the bubbles in a glass of Guinness float downwards instead of up?

Anyone who has downed a pint of the thick dark stout -- locals call it ''drowning the shamrock'' -- has no doubt noticed that Guinness bubbles hug the side of the glass and then shimmy downward, appearing to defy the laws of nature.

''The bubbles go down to indicate that the pint is going down well,'' speculated Mark Brennan, 30, a television producer contemplating his second pint at The Odeon pub.

''No, the head pushes the bubbles down,'' countered 30-year-old Vinnie Sammon, a self-described poet and Guinness-guzzling man-about-town.

Various theories have been floated since brewer Arthur Guinness introduced his grog to Dublin in 1739. Back then, Guinness was known as porter because of its popularity with porters and stevedores.

Today's brew -- a mixture of roasted, malted barley, hops, yeast and water -- traces its origins to 1821, when the Guinness family refined Arthur's recipe to create a stronger stout with a higher hop count.

On Friday, Guinness will be on tap in some 150 countries, from O'Malleys bar in Shanghai, China, to The Kilkenny in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to The Irish Oak in Chicago.

But despite its international standing, nowhere is the so-called lack gold more revered than at home on the Emerald Isle.

''You can't go to Dublin without drinking Guinness. That would be like going to Rome and not saying your prayers,'' said taxi driver John Kenny.

Every year, some 500,000 Guinness groupies make the annual pilgrimage to the Dublin brewery, set on 64 acres beside the River Liffey. They tour the plant, load up on Guinness trivia and sample the local brew.

What they have not been able to do until recently, however, was gain insight into the 260-year-old mystery behind Guinness' downward spiraling bubbles.

Even Joe Bergin, who oversees developments in brewing technology for Guinness, admitted he was in the dark.

''We'd never really thought about bubbles before. The most important thing about Guinness was that it went down smoothly),'' he said.

It took a professor of computational engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, to work out the solution. Clive Fletcher decided to take action after discussing the bubble mystery with colleagues at a pub.

''Because we use computational technology, we thought 'Why don't we set up a computer experiment and actually see what happens?'' said Fletcher, who devoted seven months to bubble research. ''Well, we did have one or two excursions to find a proper glass, which did involve a few field trips along the way.''

The solution? Fletcher found that as Guinness was poured into a glass, a large number of bubbles rose from the bottom, dragging liquid up with them. Because of the stout's viscosity, the center bubbles rose faster than the outer bubbles, then moved toward the outside of the glass and down.

''For small bubbles, the drag effect is larger than the buoyancy effect. The drag wins and the small bubbles get dragged down,'' he explained.

Fletcher and Bergin have since traded research and believe the scientific data could have future applications in the brewing fermentation process.

Others, however, prefer not to sully the magic with technicalities. Connoisseurs like Sammon and Brennan are involved in more important debates -- namely whether it's possible to tell a person's nationality by the number of rings left in a glass.

Each swig of Guinness leaves one ring and legend has it that an Irishman will leave in the region of five to six rings, while an American will leave 17 to 20. An Australian won't leave any rings at all -- they tend to knock it back in one gulp.

AP-NY-03-16-00 1418EST< 

-- viewer (, March 16, 2000.

Some beer distributors were at a convention. They went out to lunch together.

The waiter asked what they wanted to drink. The Budweiser man asked for a Bud. The Coors person ordered a Coors. Etc.until the waiter asked the Guiness representative. He ordered a soda pop.

There were gasps all around the table. Everyone began at once, "What, you're not going to have a beer?"

The Guiness guy says, "Well, I thought that since no one else was..."

-- jumpoff joe a.k.a. Al K. Lloyd (, March 16, 2000.

Hehehe, I however, prefer not to sully the magic with technicalities, but do note, with suitable distain, and, I slurr, with considerable distress, that Americans will leave 17 to 20 rings on a glass. 'Tis a shock to me to learn it on such a perfect day as this. Och, 'tis too embarrassing to continue with the wimpiness of it all...

-- Pieter (, March 16, 2000.

Guinness: Breakfast of Champions!

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), March 16, 2000.

Greetings Pieter and much "tanks" for the poetry. However, I must disagree with only one aspect. Tis a pint of MURPHY's, lad, from DOWN the country that is yer only man. Sure every man of Munster knows that to take the "bull" by the horns, can only properly be done with a good Corcaigh city brew. Slainte, drown the shamrock and more power to ye elbow!!! May the road rise and all that...

-- William Wallace (, March 16, 2000.

Ah! Can it be true that you're William gracing this forum. We truely do live in astonishing times. May all boats lift your tide as well! To nick the rallying call; "As for me I intend to finish the game" - at the shebeen!

-- Pieter (, March 16, 2000.

Hi Pieter, glad you started the Guinness thread! Any idea on how many different kinds of Guinness there are? A friend told us that there were many and what we get here in the States is just the watered down stuff. Do you have the high octane stuff there? Just curious.

-- suzy (, March 16, 2000.

Begosh, and begorah. Are any of ya'll red-headed or black Irish?


-- Laura (Ladylogic@...), March 16, 2000.

German married to an Orange Irish, here! May whatever brew you down in the name of St. Paddy quench your thirst!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 16, 2000.

Ah! Suzy, and how are you to be doing drinking blackest ale? Hmmm? Let me tell, there's many variety of the demon stuff 'n most of it once inside myself. We have dreaded blackard stuph dat's over 8% proof on a mild day and guaranteed to top 16% on a wild chase-em-down with a stiff whiskey day. Now thas ish poverty powerful an never did do any harm but it grew polyps on my liver, so it did indeed make a shebang in the shebeen. Anyways we don't read labels well 'cause it's then that it does reaffirm a peculiar side-effect of tippling that makes one more or less unfocussed, sort-of like you know.

And Lady L. on such a day we put away the canon and tickle a red- hair, but shuckz a black colleen'll be fine too.

In celebration I give you this poem of lore;

Hell and Damnation to Strathdownie Station,
if ever you're in need of grass.
As for foreman McGibbon,
The bastard want's fringgin',
and shoved up 'is 'orses arse!

'Tis a lovely forum we'd be having if everyone was Irish for a day!! Tralala

-- Pieter (, March 16, 2000.


It's late here, so Tralala and Tata for now.

(Thanks for the entertainment tonight.)


-- Laura (Ladylogic@...), March 16, 2000.

-- CD (, March 16, 2000.

An Irishman walks into a bar in Dublin, orders three pints of Guinness and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.

When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender approaches and tells him, "You know, a pint goes flat after I pull it; it would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The Irishman replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in America, the other in Australia, and I'm here in Dublin. When we all left home, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I drinks one for each o' me brothers and one for me self."

The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.

The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way: He orders three pints and drinks them in turn. One day, he comes in and orders two pints. All the other regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your great loss." The Irishman looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eye and he laughs. "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," He explains, "It's just that me wife had us join that Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking. 'Hasn't affected me brothers a bit though."

-- Uncle Deedah (, March 17, 2000.

"Me troat is dry" as we Irish American would say in an attempt to imitate the master race - Irish. A question and a link. Any of you stout afficionados ever come across a hangover remedy made from Guinness and a bunch of other stuff, including eggs and tomato juice?

Best pint stateside I ever had - the Liffey Pub in Queens, now closed, where the bartender would blow a shamrock image into that lovely foam on top of that lovely pint.

And since you can't drink an e-pint on line, here is a link to rte's site, to listen to Ireland:

Cheers to pollies and soapmakers alike, but even after a few pints the pollies were right...

Still only her rivers run free...QuietMan

-- QuietMan (, March 17, 2000.

"A pint of plain is your only man" : Flann O'Brien (aka Brian O'Nolan aka Myles na Gopaleen) was referring to PORTER, not Guinness (ie 'a pint of plain porter'). Guiness is stout, not porter. However, it's hard to find real porter nowadays, so I guess a pint of the black stuff will have to do ... This little bit of pedantry brought to you courtesy of de Selby (obscure reference only understood by fans of 'The Third Policeman').

Gabh mo leithsciil, a chairde, nml mi ach ag magadh!

-- Risteard Mac Thomais (, March 21, 2000.

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