It’s an interesting thing, drinking Guinness. Sometimes when I am served a perfect pint I find it difficult to even commence imbibing the liquid as I consider it practically a work of art to look at. I could watch it settle stout-to-head for hours*. I’m sure plenty of you know of what I speak, based on the fact that if you walk into practically any target or similar store these days there is a full range of Guinness posters, t-shirts, wall coverings, mirrors, etc. most of which display, if not the old school adverts, the simple image of the beverage in a class. It truly is a thing to behold and, eventually, even better to taste.
I have heard it said that Guinness affects the Irish blood differently. I have never necessarily believed or disbelieved this until recently.
I’m starting to believe.
I think ‘Mother’s Milk’ is the term I’ve seen used, which of course implies that the drink is complimenting something that is already in the Irish blood. It is also said that this is why it does not affect the us fair-skinned drunkards the same way it might others. Of course I’m more prone to believe that it’s not really a nationality in those in questions’ blood that’s changing the effect but instead more likely alcoholism. Still if there’s one thing we all know about the Irish it’s we love our folk tales and myths, so who is to say what is what in the pub?
But I’ve been drinking Guinness way more frequently lately and I’ve found that I can put away a pretty fair amount of the beautiful black liquid and not get drunk. Even after a good 10 cans of the Draught I tend to not be drunk as we think of the term, or at least not drunk like I get if I happen to have a few too many bottles of Sierra Nevada or, god help me, Hacker Pschorr’s**. Something about Guinness definitely reacts differently with my system.
I know it’s always been this way, so maybe I’m just noticing it now because if I’m out I’m more conscious of how much I’m drinking. I was very comfortable getting topped back at my favorite pubs in Chicago and driving the five minutes home than I am here in LA (I’m aware that’s terrible, it’s in the past). So ordering a Guinness has become a handy trick on those off times I do go out to drink (which isn’t all that often really). Again, since moving to LA I have sort of lost my adventurous nature due to the fact that I don’t know my way around that well. I suppose it is this ‘fish out of water’ that makes the first beer in a pub in the city proper (about 30 minutes away by freeway***) gloss me over a hell of a lot more than one at home does. However, this is not as true with Guinness.
Part of this is the fact that Guinness lends itself to be drank a bit slower than say an ice cold Pale Ale (How I miss Goose Island Honker’s Ale back home!!!). Also I believe Guinness has a slightly lesser alcohol content than many other pub time favorites, so blood alcohol levels won’t rise as fast. But going beyond that Guinness just does not seem to invite the kind of sloppy ass pish-talking that say, lagers do.
Well, maybe after about fifteen of them, but you know, that’s reserved for special occasions, like the open bar at like-minded friends’ weddings. Right?
Incidentally, whoever can spot the reference to the ultimate dive bar from Chicago’s south side (complete with mullets doin’ coke off the urinals) wins a no-prize!
* Unless you happen to be in Ireland or the U.K. where I have been asked, upon ordering a pint of Guinness what I wanted to drink while I waited for the pour, which in Sterling Scotland took a good 12 minutes.
** About 8 years ago in Chicago when Hacker Pschorr really stepped up their distribution and the delicious Weisse beer began showing up in a lot of the pubs my friends and I frequented I feel in love with it – but I also learned of its power. We used to refer to it as Heroin Pschorr due to the fact that after you’ve had a few of them you may think you are speaking to your mates just as I am typing now, but it’s really coming out ‘ushd tew shepking ur amtates shustazzz Eim tee-ishing narw, busht stt eralay shumin’ et…’ and then you wake up somewhere where you don’t know where you are. Be careful with this one, please.
*** We call them Freeways here but you may know them as Expressways.