If you ever need an example of how too much booze in the air can backfire, then check out this story involving Clare Irby, one of the members of the Guinness brewing dynasty.
Ms. Irby was flying Kingfisher Air from Bangalore back to London when her overindulgence in airline booze led her to start stripping, show her g-string to fellow passengers, and allow a seat mate to grab her breasts.
Oh, and she let this all happen while her 2 year old son was crying in the seat next to her. Reports from the flight crew also claim she was swearing, slept while her son jumped up and down on his seat and put her hand on a flight attendants face while yelling at her. She was also overheard saying “all the opium had made her really relaxed”.
And to make the story even juicier, the passenger who was grabbing her breasts was traveling with his girlfriend. It’s like something that usually starts with “Dear Penthouse”.
Of course, all stories have two sides, and Ms. Irby claims this is all one big misunderstanding and that she only had a couple of glasses of wine, making her slightly tipsy. She also denies taking any drugs, or allowing anyone to grab her breasts. She does admit to talking loudly to her son, but only because he apparently doesn’t respond to whispers.
A London court will now decide whether to go ahead and press charges. Usually in cases like this, the reports from the flight crew are taken quite seriously, but someone with her background and cash may be able to get off with not much more than a warning.
The oldest continuously operated bar in Philadelphia (and one of the oldest in the country) began celebrating its sesquicentennial this week. McGillin’s Old Ale House opened in 1860, the year President Lincoln was elected, making it almost 150 years old.
While the anniversary isn’t technically until 2010, McGillin’s decided to start the party 150 days in advance, so if you find yourself in Philly, stop in and raise a glass. The bar has already started brewing and selling a special 1860 IPA and has a full schedule of anniversary events lined up, like book signings, an Oktoberfest party, and a Fall festival.
The pre-Civil-War tavern has a colorful history. When the original owner died, his wife took over the business and kept a list of troublemakers not allowed in. Among them was her own father. Locals consider the bar a Philadelphia institution and its “old-time character” has earned it spots on lists like America’s Most Authentic Irish Pubs (even though it doesn’t serve Guinness) and Coolest Bars in the U.S.
I tend to be a little anal-retentive when it comes to getting to the airport on-time for a flight. As such, I end up arriving a good 2+ hours before take-off. The upside is that, in all of my travels, I have only missed two flights because of my tardiness. The downside is that I’ve had to kill a tremendous amount of time in airports. Despite the fact that they are made for waiting, airport terminals are pretty much the epitome of lame. Most are devoid of decent food options and full of stores that sell schlock and overpriced bags of mixed nuts. But in recent years, some terminals have started to…get this…cater to travelers! And Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal C is now one of those terminals.
Terminal C is home to Continental Airlines and some of the best food and drinks you will find in an airport. For anyone who has ever forced down some scolding hot Sbarro’s pizza or hockey puck-like fast food burgers while waiting for a flight, Terminal C’s offerings are a sight for sore stomachs.
There’s the Heineken Lounge, Sam Adams bar and Guinness Irish Pub, which provide travelers with a chance to make flying a tad more bearable without having to sit in a drab airport bar. And Vino Volo offers customers wine flights of selections from around the world. And if you find a wine that you like, you can purchase bottles to take away or have shipped to you.
I never understood why waiting for a flight had to be so torturous. Not everyone can afford to have access to lounges, but that doesn’t mean that the main terminal should look like a mall food court. There’s a happy medium and Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal C seems to have found that and even exceeded it a bit. Now my only concern is getting distracted at one of the bars and missing my flight!
Yesterday I wrote about the 5-minute process for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness. That fanaticism alone should be a clue to the quality of Guinness in Ireland — any country willing to wait five minutes for its drink is a true aficionado. When I lived there, I found many Irish to be passionate and very specific about how Guinness should be drunk. Once a stranger stopped me in a pub because I was drinking a pint that hadn’t fully settled — he was that concerned about it.
I frequented a two-story pub in Galway, and another regular, an older Irish man with watery blue eyes and a red nose, would only get his pints from downstairs. “The Guinness has to travel too far up the pipes to get upstairs,” he informed me. He believed that the Guinness was purest and freshest the less it has to travel.
That opinion holds true for geographical location as well — it’s a widely-held belief that Guinness tastes best in Ireland, and specifically Dublin, where the brewery is located. I have to agree — the drink is just richer there. In the States my pints always taste flat and watery.
So why is that? I did a little research, and here’s what I came up with:
The popularity of the drink in Ireland means that kegs aren’t sitting around long. Therefore, the Guinness is almost always fresh — and certainly more fresh than overseas since it doesn’t have to travel as far.
The lines are cleaner — pub owners in Ireland are visited every three weeks by a Guinness representative who flushes the lines to Guinness kegs.
Guinness should be served at room temperature — an oddity to us who associate the pleasures of beer drinking with its coolness on a hot day. I’ve noticed that most bars in the States tend to chill their Guinness along with the rest of their beers, which definitely changes the flavor of it.
Some other theories that I had a hard time verifying:
The water at the Dublin brewery is better than the water where most Guinness brewed for export is made (in England).
Guinness taps in Ireland are pressurized with nitrogen, while taps in the US (and elsewhere, I assume?) are pressurized with carbon dioxide.
What do you think — is the Guinness really better in Ireland?
Did you know that it takes 5 minutes to pour a pint of Guinness? That is, it does if you’re pouring it correctly.
The first time I went to Ireland, I stepped up to the bar, ordered my Guinness, and when the bartender poured it and set it on the counter, I walked away with it. Back at my table, I noticed the glass was only three-quarters full (and no, that’s not a metaphor for my overwhelming optimism). I took it back and asked her to top it off; she informed me that it has to settle for a few minutes before it gets topped off. Ashamed at my ignorance, I waited and my patience was rewarded with a thick, rich pint that had a perfect creamy head. A year and a half later I was back in the country on the other side of the bar, and I eventually learned the art of pouring a perfect pint. Here’s how:
Start with a tulip-shaped pint glass that’s clean and dry. Tilt the glass to a 45-degree angle under the tap and pour until the glass is three-quarters full.
Let sit for several minutes to let it settle. The beer should be black and flat.
After it’s settled, fill the glass the rest of the way. No need to tilt the glass anymore; you want to create the signature foamy head on top. It’s okay if some foam spills over the side — that means you’ve got it full enough!
In case you need to see it to believe it, check out this YouTube video on the next page: