The Perfect Pint

tír na nÓg; Trenton, NJ

Since returning from their 35th anniversary trip to Ireland, my parents have been searching for Guinness that compares to the pints they enjoyed across the Pond. In fact, they have made it into a kind of a job: every new town we go to, the first thing we do is check The Guinness Pub Finder to see what’s around. Since I live with them, I’m along for the ride. Don’t get me wrong, I love Guinness, and this has been a fun learning experience for me. So, what makes a good pint you might ask. Well,

Most people I talk to don’t understand when I say, “we’re searching for the perfect pint”. “Isn’t it all the same?” they ask. No. No it is not all the same. The two most important things to know when searching for the best Guinness? First: how fresh is it? Obviously, freshness becomes a bit relative this far from the beer’s place of origin, but you want some place that serves enough Guinness to be turning over their kegs on a regular basis. After all, who wants beer that’s been languishing in the keg?

Second, but certainly not the less important: how do they pour it? I have had any number of people scoff at me when I ask this. To the doubters I say: “Go to the Guinness website. They tell you there.” In order to avoid the bitter taste that is so commonly associated with Guinness in this country, it is imperative that the pint be poured properly. (Here is a video that outlines the Proper Pour in case you’d like to educate your local barman :)). Anyone can learn this as you can see, and any bartender who serves Guinness ought to (IMHO).

Now, if you can just find yourself an Irish barman to pour it for you…

A few pints from our own excursions:

The Whip Tavern; Unionville, Pa. Rather a hike for us, but we love it.

O’Lunney’s, Times Square, NYC (a small one, but very tasty and lovely atmosphere)

tír na nÓg, Trenton, NJ. Beautiful pint. Could have been a tad fresher, but the atmosphere was great.

McNally’s Tavern; Chestnut Hill, Philly. “Best pint I’ve had since Ireland” – Dad (and that was almost two years ago). Only gripe: wrong glass.

Have I inspired you to approach Guinness in a new light? I hope so. Let me know what places you find. Happy Hunting!

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