In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, we hooked up with Guinness Brewery Ambassador Chris McClellan to learn how to pour the perfect pint. We’ll start with the details for pulling from the tap, just in case you find yourself behind the bar come March 17th. There are six parts to the perfect pour.
You want to start with a “beer clean” Guinness gravity glass, that classic tulip-like 20-ounce glass emblazoned with the Guinness logo. “Beer clean” simply refers to an especially clean glass, free of any particles that might affect the beer’s flavor. The specific shape helps to create the perfect head (more on that later) and funnel the aromas towards your nose and mouth.
Hold the glass under the tap at a 45° angle.
Pull the handle all the way down and towards you, aiming for the harp. Fill the glass ¾ of the way full, or about halfway up the harp.
Once you get to ¾ full, transfer the glass to the bar (or whatever flat surface is in front of you) and let the bubbles settle.
Guinness actually invented the use of nitrogen in beer, which creates much finer bubbles than more traditional CO2. That iconic Guinness head—the collar of foam that stays there from first sip to last drop—is a result of nitrogen gas. As the bubbles try to escape the glass, they build on the surface tension of the beer to create the quintessential creamy top.
The fifth step is the top off. Hold the glass underneath the tap and push the handle away from you—not all taps go forward and backward but stout faucets do—until the beer is just “proud of the rim” (that’s just a fancy way to say filled to the brim).
Though you may think you’re finished, not so fast: the sixth and final step is the confident presentation of the beer. What kind of bartender would you be without a little swagger?
We realize not everyone will be behind the bar on St. Patty’s day. If you find yourself pouring from the can instead, here’s your amended 4-step process:
Start with a “beer clean” glass.
Pour at a 45° angle until you get to the harp.
And let it settle.