Guinness is an acquired taste, they say. My first sip of the black stuff wasn’t the finest; the thickness of a full Guinness left me wondering whether I had just downed a draught, or a dirty, soured milkshake. But, in time, I found that unlike American piss-waters like Budweiser (my favorite) or Natural Light, Guinness was meant to be sipped as an experience in itself. Sure, you still get drunk, but maybe that wasn’t the point — maybe there was more to drinking a beer than the inevitable loose tongue, and subsequent hangover.
Now, I’ve never been to Ireland (and rumor has it the further away from St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin you get, the worse the Guinness tastes) but when I do get a chance to visit old Eire, I’ll be using Cheryl Donahue’s World Hum guide to becoming a “first class punter” — an expert Guinness drinker — in an attempt to blend in while searching out a pint of Ireland’s finest.
First step is to find the right pub by staying away from the tourist-friendly highway bars, and instead focus on a small villages with at least three pubs. “A one-pub village won’t cut it, as everyone and their brother will be there, from the permanently drunk old-timer spewing forth about the Black & Tans to the fresh-faced passers-bye.” Once you’ve nailed down the proper bar, it’s time to order a pint like the locals: “Do not order a piña colada, gin and tonic or a margarita. Above all, do not order a Budweiser.”
For Cheryl’s complete play-by-play on enjoying the full Guinness experience, head over to World Hum.