Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

How To Drink A Guinness

By Jay Brooks
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 9:31 pm in On Beer.

As today is St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s likely you might drink a stout today, I got some interesting press info from Guinness recently which I thought I’d share.


The Proper Way To Drink A Guinness — 6 Steps

So, the bartender has done a professional job crafting the pint. As the pint is presented to you, the intensity is coming alive and that wonderful creamy head being formed. It’s time to drink your pint of Guinness. But as Guinness Master Brewer Fergal Murray says, there are proper steps to best taste the natural ingredients and 250 years of brewing art inside a pint of Guinness:

1. The Visual impact – you always drink a pint of Guinness with your eyes first. Take a moment to view the beauty of the beer in the glass. Never look down at a pint of Guinness; always look to the horizon and raise your pint to your mouth

2. Own the pint. Stand proud and stand tall. Feel confident and think, ‘This is my pint. I deserve it.’

3. Get your elbow up. Prepare to tilt the glass to allow your lips to pull the liquid through the glass.

4. Raise your pint and drink the liquid through the head. (Too often, a first‐time Guinness drinker will take a small sip and get only the creamy head, which is full of bitter tasting notes). By drinking through the head, you will get the roastiness of the barley in the liquid with a hint of bitterness from the head to
round out the overall taste experience.

5. Always drink from the same side of the glass so you can see the glass become laced and layered. With each pull from a pint of Guinness, you should see a “ring” of head inside your glass, which we refer to as “lacing.” Stand your ground, tilting the glass so you get enough liquid in your mouth, and energizing the four key elements of Guinness in all areas of the throat; 1) the sweetness of the malted barley on the front of your tongue 2) the roastiness of the roasted barley in the liquid on the sides of your mouth and the 3) the fantastic lingering hint of bitterness on the back of the throat as the liquid flows down. And best of all, 4) that fabulous smooth finish unique to Guinness draught as the taste buds awaken.

6. Drink responsibly. Guinness is a product for those that respect great beer and have great respect for themselves and those around them.


Fergal Murray, Brewmaster for Guinness

As master of one of the most famous brews in the world, what are your job responsibilities? Are you the one and only Brewmaster, or are there others?

I have a few responsibilities as Brewmaster. The first is to ensure that every ounce of Guinness that leaves St. James Gate is of the finest quality because people around the world have come to expect as much. Similarly, I help to ensure that our beer innovations meet our quality standards for taste, appearance and drinking experience. The second part of my job is traveling the world educating people on the proper way to serve and enjoy Guinness, including the fundementals of the Perfect Pour. I work alongside a number of beer making experts in our collective quest to create the pinnacle beer experience.


Pouring the Perfect Pint

  1. Clean dry glass — preferably with branded logo and the 20 oz pint
  2. Hold glass at 45 degree angle and never allow the spout to touch beer or glass
  3. The Pour — pull faucet down and allow beer to fill glass – you will see the surge commence
  4. The Settle — allow the nitrogen bubbles create the theatre and wonderful surge event creating the beautiful creamy head
  5. The Top Up — the Beer has settled (distinct gap between dark liquid and head) and the glass is topped up slowly to create a domed effect with the head proud of the glass
  6. The Presentation — Give the creation of the perfect pint to the adoring customer

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  • Woody Brown

    Hey Jay, love your blog! Looking to meet beer lovers in the San Francisco area. I will be in SF April 28th. I am starting my 8 month hike to Delaware May 1’st from the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, to win a one beer bet (hence the site tracking my progress). Hope all is well, Woody

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  • Brian Ritter

    Being told how to drink a beer is ridiculous!