News: Why Guinness Tastes Better in Ireland (& More Surprising Guinness Facts)

Why Guinness Tastes Better in Ireland (& More Surprising Guinness Facts)

Any beer aficionado who's been to Ireland will always talk about how the Guinness there "just tastes different." But save your eye rolls, skeptics: it turns out your favorite lagerhead actually has a valid point.

Some people think there's a different formula for Irish vs. American Guinness, but that's not true. According to Slate, the key factors are really time and distance. All the Guinness that's sold in the UK, Ireland, and North America is made in Dublin.

Image by Brian Teutsch/Flickr

Unsurprisingly, it turns out the freshest Guinness is the best-tasting Guinness (which any home brewer worth his salt could tell you). And it's more likely that you're drinking Guinness from a fresh keg with clean draft lines in Ireland, where more of it is served, and where the act of serving Guinness is a national pastime.

But it turns out other factors come into play, as this study of Guinness drinking reports (via Discover Magazine). Ambience and company factor into enjoyment. Overall, Guinness drunk in optimal conditions (in a nice Irish pub vs. the brewery where it was made vs. pubs outside of Ireland) rated much higher in terms of enjoyment than just about anywhere else.

Image by Mario Cutroneo/Flickr

However, the researchers behind the study admit that there are limitations to the design of the study—but we bet they'll have fun getting the kinks out of it.

It Requires 119.5 Seconds to Rest Before You Can Drink It

The perfect pint of Guinness is poured with the glass held at a 45° angle. It should be left to settle on a flat surface for 119.5 seconds to let is "surge" and allow that perfect, foamy head to appear.

While Guinness recommends using a Guinness-brand glass, according to the Travel Channel, a standard tulip-shaped one should do fine. That shape is crucial to the drinking experience, since the wider neck aids nitrogen bubbles in traveling downward along the glass' sides and then back upward into the beer, creating that creamy foam.

Check out the official FAQ that explains how to pull it from a tap or pour it from a can—the right way.

Nigeria Drinks More Guinness Than Ireland

Africa, due to its long history as a colony under British rule and aggressive marketing, loves them some Guinness. In 2011, they became the biggest market for the brew, surpassing even its homeland, Ireland. The UK currently is first, while the U.S. ranks fifth.

African Guinness differs slightly than the kind sold in Ireland, the UK, and the U.S. Image via Brewed for Thought

It differs slightly from the version sold in Ireland, the UK, and the U.S. in that it's carbonated, not nitrogenated, and has a higher alcohol volume—a holdover from the brewing techniques Guinness first used when making stout in Africa.

Guinness Once Built an Underwater Submarine Bar

For their 250th anniversary in 2012, Guinness commissioned a customized submarine complete with a bar. It went to the depths of the Baltic and traveled around the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden.

Image via Nicholas Alexander

Alas, there's currently no word on whether the company plans to take the vessel out again.

It's Been Studied for Its Ability to Fight Heart Disease

Guinness' slogan used to be "Guinness is good for you!" Turns out there's scientific evidence to now back that claim. According to a 2003 study at the University of Wisconsin, Guinness specifically contains antioxidants that could protect drinkers from heart attacks, reduce cataracts, and prevent impotence when consumed in moderation (usually meaning one drink a day for women, two for men).

Image via DW Photography

Years ago in England, post-op patients were given Guinness to drink because of its high iron content.

Guinness Beer Started the Guinness Book of Records

The Guinness Book of Records is brought to by none other than Guinness Brewery. According to History Today, Sir Hugh Beaver, the managing director of Guinness in the 1950s, wanted to find a reliable resource that documented facts, figures, and recognizable achievements. By 1954, he teamed with brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter, who were renowned as publishers and fact finders to make the book a reality.

From the inane to the factual, if it's a record-breaking achievement, Guinness World Records has it. Image via Guinness World Records

The publication is widely renowned for its accuracy and adherence to fact. According to its website, it has sold 132,002,542 copies from 1955 until October 2013, and is currently known simply as Guinness World Records.

Its Actual Color Is Not What You Think

While Guinness is commonly and fondly known as "the black stuff," its color is actually a deep, rich red, not black or brown.

Image by Hannah Doolin/Big Girls Small Kitchen

According to their website, traditional methods of roasting barley give the brew a ruby-red color: you just have to hold your glass up to the light to see it properly.

What's your favorite way to enjoy Guinness?

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