Like Dylan songs and zarda paan, you either lurrv the thick, creamy semi-liquid darkness of a pint of Guinness or you detest it. For those in the ‘another round please’ category, September 24 was a special day in the history of good taste. Exactly 250 years ago, Irish visionary and Tippler O’Supreme Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery in Leixlip, Co Kildare, in 1756 after he was left with the neat pile of £ 100 courtesy his godfather Archbishop Arthur Price. The rest, as they say, is happy hours.
The distinctive bitter and burnt flavour (liquid karela is one apt description) is derived from roasted barley and tender love and care. While India is still denied the ‘on-tap’ pleasures of inarguably the best dry stout beer (‘stout’ as an adjective originally meant ‘proud’ or ‘brave’), desi aesthetes can and indeed make do with canned Guinness — complete with the rattling widget, a device placed inside the can to manage the characteristics of the beer’s especially delightful thick and creamy ‘head’, the layer of carbon dioxide bubbles that rises to the surface to advertise the joy of living.
Ten million glasses of the Beautiful Drink are enjoyed around the world every day — with drinkers in Ireland, Nigeria and the United States leading the way. Owned by the world’s largest multinational beer company Diageo since 1986, Guinness is brewed in 50 countries where the same ingredients of barley, hops, yeast and water “that flows from the Wicklow Mountains [in Ireland]” are mixed to in accordance to the magic recipe.
But the taste of the Guinness is in its sipping. So take out the can out of its ideal 10-13 °C confines, raise it while plucking the top off, pour its content at an angle of 45 degrees, wait for 119.5 seconds for the perfect pint to settle, and enjoy the Beautiful Blackness.