The Monday morning after the Cubs home opener seems like an appropriate time to address the art of beer, in particular, the art of pouring a perfect Guinness.
The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), who is offering $6 pints of Guinness in conjunction with their “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840” exhibition, has put together a primer on the subject which could aptly be called the “art” of the pour.
It seems that the period between 1690 and 1840, not only offered some extraordinary Irish art but also brought us a very fine brew.
It was during this period that Arthur Guinness created “Guinness.”
The Irish stout, born in Dublin in 1759, is a delicate mix of roasted barley, hops, yeast and water that is blended into a rich dark brew.
Then, as now, it is all about the pour. According to a spokesman at the AIC, the correct way to pour and drink a Guinness involves a three-step ritual:
Step 1: The Right Glass and Proper Angle
Guinness should be served in a clean, dry 20-oz. tulip-shaped pint glass. The bump in the wider neck allows nitrogen bubbles to move down the side of the glass and back up into the neck of the beer. The server will tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle to the tap; otherwise the Guinness will froth, take forever to settle and may taste bruised.
Step 2: Topping It Off
Once it’s settled, the pint of Guinness will be held level under the tap and the server will push the tap away from the glass, pouring the Guinness slower. The server will aim the brew directly into the middle of the foam head until it settles a half-millimeter above the lip of the pint glass. Wait. A smaller, second settling period is crucial.
Step 3: Sip It Right
Finally, and perhaps the most important step, is sipping your Guinness. Hold it up to the light, marvel at the rich color. Then bring it to your lips, and sip the foam until you hit the body of the beer. Enjoy and repeat.
Visitors with a taste for Guinness can imbibe and watch the ritual of the pour at the museum’s Caffe Moderno, the Museum Café, or at the Member Pub (formerly known as the Member Lounge) before or after their visit to the exhibition.
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