How To Pour The Perfect Pint Of Guinness, According To Its Taproom Manager

Everywhere around the Irish-loving, green-wearing world has had a subdued St. Patrick's Day this year. Dublin even canceled its traditional parade due to COVID-19, Guinness Beer Specialist Ian Colgan told a live audience in the U.S. via Zoom on March 17. "We will raise our glasses again, so just bear tight and enjoy your friends and family," Colgan said.

He has a point. Pubs in Ireland and America may be closed still, but that doesn't mean we can't all toast the holiday with a pint of Guinness. That's why Guinness partnered with the alcohol delivery service Drizly to offer a virtual lesson on how to properly pour a pint of the world's best-selling stout. Colgan and Guinness taproom manager Padraig Fox taught "Perfect Pour 101" from the Open Gate Brewery taproom in Dublin.

If you thought a brewery founded in 1759 in that very location would be a stickler for tradition, well, you would be wrong. Fox and Colgan demonstrated two ways to pour a pint of Guinness — the standard, time-honored way, and another way that has gone viral on social media: the hard pour.

Guinness' beer experts turned their St. Patrick's Day perfect pour class into a challenge: Which would their audience prefer, traditional or hard pour? Fox said it was important either way to start with a fully chilled can of Guinness. (Colgan dispelled the myth that the Irish drink Guinness warm. "We have fridges now, and we use them," he said.)

Guinness employees teach two good ways to pour a pint

Padraig Fox demonstrated the traditional method to pour a Guinness. (His name is the Irish version of "Patrick," so he felt pretty special on this St. Patrick's Day.) He held the glass at a 45-degree angle and didn't let the can touch the glass. "I have a beautiful surge and settle coming out on the beer," Fox noted, describing how Guinness' famous head of nitrogen bubbles surges from the bottom of the glass to form that creamy layer on top. The pour takes 119.5 seconds, Fox said, if you include wait time. You don't want to drink your Guinness until you see a distinct separation between foam and Guinness' ruby red liquid. Fox acknowledged that Guinness is nicknamed "the black stuff," but he wanted to be sure his students knew the brew's true color.

Then Colgan went into his hard pour. "Unceremoniously, I'm going to dump the can straight into the glass," he said. He stuffed the can in the pint glass upside down, then slowly lifted it as the beer rose up. He got a stronger surge but ultimately the same result, two minutes later came a cold, inviting pint of Guinness with a little head on top. After a quick glance at all the votes streaming in over Zoom chat, Fox and Colgan declared a tie.

Then the two Irishmen raised their glasses to America with a traditional Irish toast that means, "To your health."