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Trip Report Dublin, A Taste Experience

From an early age as a kid growing up in The Bahamas I have known about the uniqueness of Guinness. At that time, it was touted to have many benefits including medical ones and was considered more of a status beverage, always above drinking beer.

As I continue my tour of the Guinness Brewery at St James Gate in Dublin, I have flashback fond memories of Guinness, Cadbury, Oval-tine, McVities Coconut Cream Biscuits (Cookies) and many other British made products that were a part of my childhood.

Entering an area of the self guided tour I get a personal experience of the product that I always thought had an interesting appeal. I watch and participate as a Guinness employee professionally explains the five steps to enjoying a proper poured pint.

The First step is to listen for the gases as your drink is being poured. Second, you look for the ionic Guinness surge which comes from the separation of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases. The creamy head is formed when the gases are completely separated as the heavier carbon dioxide sinks to the bottom.

Third, is touch for temperature of the glass. Guinness is stored at 9C and served at 6C. If theses temperatures are not respected you can lose as much as 50% of the drink's flavor.

Fourth, is smell which requires a swirling of the glass. Unfortunately, I am not a good swirlier and require a little assistance. On the other hand, I have no problem smelling the roasted barley that is a part of what gives Guinness it's distinctive taste.

The Fifth step which for most of us comes before the others is taste. However, this is not as simple as chugging a gulp or two. No, this requires “Retro-Nasal Breathing” and “Swirling”. With a mouthful of Guinness, you breathe in, swirl it around in your mouth (I'm much better at this since no wrist action is involved) and as you swallow it, breathe out through your nose. If done properly you can taste the hops and barely at different parts of your mouth.

I am not sure that I have this step down and I am not ashamed to take more lessons if necessary. At the end of the tour I will get to opportunity to practice what I have learned and maybe I'll give you the chance to do so also.

For now, I'll just pass on something else I have just learned. Guinness is not brown in color but dark ruby red.


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