Spending most of my life in Dublin, Ireland, I have always looked forward to St. Patrick's Day and everything it stands for. Whether it was heading straight from mass to watch the parade roll down O'Connor Street and over the River Liffey, or meeting up with some friends for a pint at one of the pubs around town, St. Patrick's Day has always held a special place for me.
This year, I heard about a very unique opportunity that would allow me to share my passion with a much larger audience. Guinness Canada was looking for Irish people to share their experiences, memories and knowledge of St. Patrick's Day to help educate Canadians on how to celebrate in a truly authentic way. So on March 12, myself and five others, all passionate about St. Patrick's Day boarded a plane headed from DUB to YYZ to embark on our mission to save March 17.
Though I have yet to celebrate a St. Patrick's Day in Canada, I was surprised when I discovered that key elements of the festivities here include dying your pint of beer green or dressing like a leprechaun. In my opinion, drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day is completely un-Irish and I think it should be banned from pubs in Canada. I feel that it is my patriotic duty to stem the tide and show Canadians the authentic way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Before coming to Canada, our team attended official Guinness Storehouse training at the St. James Gate Brewery, Dublin. My fellow recruits and I were taught the art of the perfect pour of Guinness. It was an amazing experience to learn about the amount of passion and dedication that goes in to each and every pint. Having been through the training, I can tell you with full certainty that a good pint of Guinness is worth waiting for.
As we were taught at St. James Gate, the six steps to the perfect pour are:
Step One: The Glass
Take a dry, clean glass, ideally a 20-ounce tulip pint glass. The internal aerodynamics of a tulip glass allows the nitrogen bubbles to flow down the sides of the glass, and the contour 'bump' in the middle pushes the bubbles back to the center on their way up.
Step Two: The Angle
Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle under the tap. The tap faucet should not touch the tulip glass or beer. If you just hold it straight under the faucet, you'll get a big block of bubbles and a fish eye.
Step Three: The Pour
Let the beer flow nice and smoothly into the angled glass and fill it up three-quarters of the way.
Step Four: The Head
Let it settle. On the way through the faucet, the beer passes through a five-hole disk restrictor plate at a high speed, creating friction and bringing out nitrogen bubbles. The bubbles are agitated now -- they can't go back into the solution, so they flow down the interior sides and back up the middle -- but they can't escape. So they build this wonderful, creamy head on top. It's like an architect building a strong foundation.
Step Five: The Top-Off
Once it settles, you want to fill up the glass and top it off. You allowed it to settle, you created a domed effect across the top of the pint, and now your head is looking proud over the glass. That's the perfect vision of the perfect pint.
Step Six: The First Sip
You drink with your eyes first. The cosmetic look of the pint is critical to the Guinness experience. We don't want anybody just putting liquid in a glass. And finally, drink responsibly.
We will be in Canada celebrating St. Patrick's Day from Wednesday March 13 to Sunday March 17. We will be out around Toronto for the remainder of our week and will be updating people on our status via Twitter and Facebook. Canadians of legal drinking age can follow along by 'Liking' Guinness Canada and following @GuinnessCanada with the hashtag #PaintTheTownBlack.