Irish Guinness is beloved of pub-goers all over the world, with more than 10 million pints of the stuff sold every day. From a recipe perfected over hundreds of years, to the truth behind that familiar double pouring method, here’s everything you need to know about the Emerald Isle’s best-known brew.
The Birth of the Brew
Globally famous as it is today, Guinness had a rather humbler beginning. On the last day of the year 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease on a tiny abandoned building in the heart of Dublin. He transformed St. James’s Gate into a brewery, and Guinness beer was born.
The History of the Harp
The label that still decorates our Guinness glasses, bottles and cans today first appeared in 1862. The golden harp pays homage to the beverage’s Irish roots, the instrument featuring on the country’s coat of arms.
Guinness brewery has a history of caring for its workers and customers. Employees at St. James’s Gate received on-site medical care and free pints after every shift. 1939 saw each British soldier fighting in France receive a bottle of Guinness for their Christmas dinner.
Guinness is Good for You
This famous slogan first appeared in adverts in the late 1920s, touting the drink as medicinal and more nourishing than milk. Nowadays, that tagline is a thing of the past, but it’s true that a pint contains just 125 calories, less than a pint of skimmed milk.
The Guinness Book of Records
The modern Guinness World Records has its origins at the Guinness brewery. In 1951, after an argument with friends over which was the fastest bird in Europe, Sir Hugh Beaver decided to create the now iconic book that would settle all common pub disputes.
The Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement
In 1988, Guinness added a white ball to their cans to nitrogenate the beer inside and keep it creamy. Three years later, Britons voted for this “Rocket Widget” over the Internet as the greatest invention of the last 40 years.
A Glimpse at the Recipe
Guinness is a clever blend of Irish-grown barley, Poulaphouca lake water, hops, yeast and nitrogen. The dark-roasted barley gives the beer its rich flavour and glowing ruby red colour (hold your pint up to the light!) – and the nitrogen its signature creamy head.
The Art of Pulling the Pint
There’s good reason for that finger-tapping wait for your pint. Over 119.5 seconds, the Guinness glass is three-quarters filled, rested until the nitrogen bubbles have risen (creating that dark colour and velvety head), before being filled to the top.
The Secret Ingredient
With its sweet flavour and creamy texture, Guinness is the perfect addition to all kinds of recipes. It keeps the meat tender in traditional Irish beef and potato stews, gives chocolate cakes a velvety richness, and supplies malty layers to various cocktails.
Fast-forward a couple of centuries, and Arthur’s beer is world famous. Now brewed in 49 countries around the world, and served in 150, he has certainly made his mark. Surprisingly though, the largest annual consumption of Guinness is not in Ireland, but in Nigeria.
Fancy finding out even more about Guinness? Visit the original Guinness Storehouse in Dublin here on a magnificent Trafalgar trip.
Image Credits: Lead image © Mikel Ortega/WikiCommons. Guiness is Good for You © Ardfern/WikiCommons.