My wife follows a gluten- and dairy-free diet. She avoids beer as a result — except for Guinness. We can’t figure out why, but she doesn’t react to it as she did with every other beer she’s tried. Maybe it’s because Margaret is Irish and Guinness’s gluten knows better than to mess with her.
Stouts like Guinness, and their kin the porters, are my favorite beers, so I’m happy to drink Guinness with Margaret when we’re out. It’s best fresh from the tap, but relatively few bars in central Indiana, where we live, offer it that way. Fortunately, it’s almost as good in cans. At the brewery they add pressurized nitrogen and a special plastic ball to the can. The ball soaks in the nitrogen. When you open the can, the pressure lets off and the nitrogen injects into the beer. As you pour the beer into a glass, the nitrogen bubbles rise to the top and create Guinness’s signature creamy head.
Pour the Guinness Draught into a glass tilted at 45 degrees until it is three-quarters full. Allow the surge to settle before filling the glass all the way to the top. Your perfect pint, complete with its creamy white head, just domed above the glass rim, is then ready to drink.
Later during our days in Dublin we stepped into a pub for lunch and Margaret stepped up to photograph a neat row of Guinness taps. The amused bartender asked if she’d like to come behind the bar to pour one. The bartender was pleased that Margaret already knew what to do!
After we got home, we were both careful to pour our cans of Guinness using the proper procedure. But then one day I watched a bartender do it all wrong — and still get a perfect pint. She opened the can, flipped it over directly over the glass, and let all of the Guinness simply run out. After the beer settled, it looked just like a glass of Guinness should, with the full, creamy head.
This is so much more straightforward that this is what I do now. May the brewers in Dublin forgive me.