Two days ago, while cleaning the LiquorJunky beer fridge, I came across 9 cans of perfectly chilled Guinness. It wasn't so much a startling discovery, as I knew they were in there, what did puzzle me was how I overlooked these little beauties for so long.
Obviously I remember buying them, that happened last December, on the pre Christmas stock up.. Like the bottle of Baileys, that if the mother in law doesn't drink, goes unopened and eventually dumped, Guinness is a must have for the festive period. But unlike the Irish cream Liqueur (which is still on the shelf) The Black stuff is always a firm favourite. So It's a head scratcher why it went unloved and was only "found" the day before they hit their Best Before day!
"It should be noted that I am thoroughly ashamed of myself, especially as I was born and bred in Ireland, 2 hours away from St Jame's Gate Brewery!! I haven't been able to look in the mirror since I realised my frankly criminal indiscretion.. I'm surprised that actions like this don't amount to a fine and public shaming here in Ireland"
In an effort to save this liquor from having to suffer the indignity of being enjoyed afters it BBE! I quickly moved around some family plans and stood up Mrs LJ! (The Guinness hangover is cured quicker with huffy silence anyhow!) I made time for Arthur, quality time with a whispered apology on every sip. You see, I love Guinness, its an acquired taste that I acquired a long time ago, but for some reason it is one of those drinks that I ignore for months, before finally indulging, only to question why it had been so long.
So as I carefully and patiently poured that perfect pint of black from its Widgeted home, I got to thinking about my first time! The right of passage that comes from an Irishman having their first pint of Guinness! I can almost take you back with me, to the Bellvue Arms Pub on Belfast's Antrim Road, probably circa 1999! Winter or Spring of 99, I know this only as I was barred in the latter part of 1999, wrongly I might add, for allegedly dancing on table while drunk!! Excuse me, the accusation of that alone offends me! I have never danced in Bar
Anyway, for anyone who has ever been there, first pint not the aforementioned bar, you will be familiar with the anticipation and the initial taste of, well of nothing that has ever come before it. They, whoever they are, say that its like a meal in a glass. Well lets debunk that myth, this isn't a revelation, but your first taste of Guinness wont include a portion of spuds, some pie and a piece of Broccoli. Its smooth, cool and surprisingly good for you, loaded with Iron and antioxidant compounds! A 20 ounce pint is loaded with 210 calories, compare that with 150 calories found in a 20 ounce serving of milk!!
The head sticks around for most of the pint, and the acquired taste hits you straight up! Perfectly paired with some smoked salmon, for a little decadence. It also goes well with a roaring fire and that Aran jumper my granny knitted me in 1985, though now its a little snug, to the point I can really only use it as a hand warmer! Apologies, anyone outside Ireland you may need to fire "Aran Jumper" into Google.
Its impressively moreish, but for some reason it always makes me need to pee twice as much as a pint of beer (laying it all out there) and that's before we broach the subject of the infamous Guinness Hangover!
The upshot of my discovery was two fold! Not only did I get a days peace to nurse my hangover, but I also rediscovered something I had never really forgotten about, but clearly had drifted away from. Thanks to the classic Irish summer, the weather conditions right now are perfect for pouring another pint or two, a cold pint of home that can warm you up like central heating! Now that is Irish.
Sadly the pump below is only for theming! How cool would it be if it worked
A few interesting footnotes about Arthur Guinness and his world wide Porter!
Apparently the folks in Africa love the stuff, supping some 40% of the Worlds supply.
Yes, they really did create the Guinness Book of records, in the 1950's
The black stuff isn't actually black, its a dark red! hold it up to the light to see!
We love it so much we had an entire day dedicated to Arthur Guinness, at 1759hrs on a pre determined date in September, fans hold a pint up in toast "to Arthur" This was actually a company created marketing event which has now been discontinued! I for one still observe it.
The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is a very popular tourist attraction. It is home to the Gravity Bar, perched high above the facility, which I imagine is the best pint of Guinness you will ever taste is poured from. I actually went to the Brewery once, Mrs LJ and I were on a hop on hop off bus tour of Dublin, the Brewery obviously a big selling point of that excursion. Its an amazing place, historic and grand! Well the perimeter wall is, we never got off the bus, so I cant go into anymore detail. I can however give a detailed report on the Primark store on O'Connell Street! Women!!
So now we have revisited an old friend! If for some reason you have never tried it, I urge you to give it a go! My only advice though, If you want a pint on Draught, you need to come to Ireland. Anywhere else and it just isn't the same