Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ireland's Finest

Part of the "Detectives Around the World" theme week was the element of setting. Each blogger is talking in some way shape or form about setting connected to their detectives. Jack Taylor hails from Galway, Ireland. Jack Taylor is also very fond of alcohol. So, I thought I would put the two together and talk about a distinctly Irish drink: Guinness.

Guinness essentially started in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease (honest to God) on a brewery in St. James's Gate, Dublin. He paid what was roughly the equivalent of $150 when he signed the lease and then had a $66 a year rent. England received the first exported Guinness in 1769. The present day vat houses 1 and 2 at Guinness were actually built during expansions in the 1790s.

In 1803 Arthur Guinness passed away and his son Arthur Guinness II took over the company and Guinness continued to spread to new parts of the world: Lisbon, Guernsey, Barbados, Trinidad, Sierra Leone. And in 1840 Guinness made its way to New York.

At the passing of Arthur Guinness II, his son, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, took over the company. Sir Benjamin also served as a Member of Parliament for Dublin City and as Lord Mayor of Dublin. The Guinness family continues to run the brewery and contribute heavily as philanthropists.

The turn of the century brought the first Guinness research laboratory. And by 1906, 1 in 30 of the population of Dublin was dependent on the Guinness brewery for their livelihood. But eventually Guinness would expand to open breweries around the world. By 1985 Guinness would be brewed in 25 different countries.

Maybe the Guinness family was reading Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In 1954 they hosted a "Bottle Drop" promotion where 50,000 numbered, sealed bottles were released from ships into oceans around the world. People who found the bottles could return the enclosed slips for a memento.

1963 brought the end of the era of wooden barrels for kegs. Guinness was then stored and shipped in metal kegs.

Last year Guinness celebrated 250 years of brewing beer. And around the world every day over 10 million glasses of Guinness are consumed. It is the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland.

Personally, I'm not much of a drinker, but I'm absolutely fascinated by the popularity of Guinness around the world. There are even standards on how the "perfect pint" should be prepared. It should be the product of the "double pour," taking 119.53 seconds. I wonder if anyone stands over the bar tender with a stop watch? And Draught Guinness should be served at 6 degrees Celsius, Extra Cold Guinness at 3.5 degrees Celsius. They even go so far as to say it should be served in a "slightly tulip shaped pint glass." This would be as opposed to the "taller European tulip glass or Nonic glass."

So there you have it! Now when you go to the bar and order your pint, you'll know exactly what you're getting and how you should be served.

I'm not sure that Jack Taylor would be so particular about his pint, but you never know!


Naomi Johnson April 13, 2010 at 10:56 PM  

I can only imagine Jack's pithy comment on tulip glasses. :-)

bermudaonion April 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM  

I'll have to show this to my husband. He's a big fan of Guinness.

Les Blatt April 14, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

I visited Dublin last summer and had Guinness in a LOT of pubs. Pouring one, as you say, really is an art. When done properly, there should be just enough foam to provide a tasty protection to the beer itself (see the image you have posted above). I have also been told that a 12-oz. Guinness has only between 125 and 150 calories, depending on which source you check, so I consider it a diet drink...

Serena April 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM  

Guinness is my favorite beer...I love it!

Sam Sattler April 14, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

I suspect that Jack Taylor would gag at the thought, but I always got a kick out of ordering a pint of Guiness when I lived in London and watching the pourer create a neat little shamrock on top of the foam. Taylor would laugh his butt off at how impressed I was first time I saw that...

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP