Discerning Drinking, Chapter Twelve.

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Originally posted 30th June 2012

Although I am generally not much of a fan of pint-based beverages when it comes to a good old shindig, I am happy to suffer through the occasional pint of ‘Pißwasser’ – also known as Fosters, 1664, Carling or *shudders* Stella.  Why is it that, in a world of quality beers, and quality places to find and drink quality beers (such as Borough Market or Porterhouse), so many people choose this crap?  I suppose beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

And for me, one of the most beautiful sights in any bar is the Guinness tap.  I first tried the ‘meal in a glass’ when I was a little bit underage, as a joke.  It seemed such a grown-up drink at the time, and now – even for someone my age – a grownups drink.  Or even an old man’s drink. However, I have come to love it.

I do believe that the reasons for my adoration of Guinness is that, unlike its lager-based counterparts on tap behind the average bar, this historic Irish stout actually has flavour.  Aaah, yes.  That wonderful, slightly burnt flavour.  What really speaks to me though is the culture behind the drink.  Guinness is like soul food.  Things like the bevelled glass, the creamy (‘shamrocked’?) head, the sinking bubbles, the amazing adverts (remember noitulovE?) and the 119.53 second ‘perfect pour’ as dictated by parent company Diageo.  Things like this just make me want more.

One other, older ad campaign controversially stated that “Guinness Is Good For You”.  Hmm, I’m not too sure. Certainly tastes like it’s good for you; however you can’t have too much of a good thing (my Guinness limit is two pints before I am ‘full up’).  The Viz magazine frequently warns against over-ingestion of the Black Stuff; one letter (hopefully written in jest) cautioned;

’Have you had an accident in the last three years?’, say all the adverts.  So imagine my surprise upon calling – expecting a nice fat cash payment – only to be told that drinking 12 pints of Guinness, sneezing and following through is ‘not an accident’.  Well, it’s not like I did it on purpose”

Another way to make Guinness um, well less good for you, is to try to turn it into a cocktail.  I recently tried a ‘Black Japan’.

Black Japan

  • 1.5 shot Midori melon liqueur
  • Float with Guinness

It’s as simple as it sounds really.  Get a pint glass, add the Midori and then float with Guinness.  The floating part was pretty easy- just pour in the stuff gently.

The Black Japan is f**king disgusting.

The sweetness of the Midori gives the Guinness a sickly, sugary intensity that is akin to drinking Coca Cola post-mix when the CO2 has run out.  I almost threw up.

So, it’s a good way to ruin a can of Guinness.  My advice is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; Guinness is probably good for us, as long as we don’t try to turn it into a student’s drink…

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