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Dec. 22nd, 2004 04:36 pm Guinness Theory

After years of research I, Professor Steve, am finally ready to publish the final version of my theory about Guinness.

The Theory

No one really likes the taste of Guinness.

Researching the facts behind the Theory

Many years ago, before I even started drinking beer, a friend named Phil up in the Bay Area told me about Guinness, an Irish beer that was so thick, so dark, so black, that you couldn’t even see light through it! I remember he also told me another “fact” about Guinness: The Guinness available over here in the USA is “nothing like” the Guinness over in Ireland, and you’ve never really tasted Guinness until you’ve been to Ireland to drink it.


This Guinness has obviously just been “pulled” but is waiting the 5 minutes on the bar for it to completely “settle” before it is served


Jumping ahead in time to the Hotel Del Coronado: I’d recently moved here to San Diego, and now sat in the old dark, wood-paneled bar (now modernized and illuminated and basically ruined as the new “Babcock & Story Bar”) with a few friends visiting from my old stomping grounds up north. By this time in history, basically every bar and lounge in San Diego offered Guinness, and so I knew it was pretty much “the” cool beer (or “stout”, rather) to be seen drinking. My roommate’s friend Jeff and another brother ordered a Guinness, and in my desire to also be “cool”, I ordered one myself. It looked pretty good, I thought, black liquid topped by a quickly diminishing tan colored head of foam. Then I tasted it. “This tastes like crap”, I thought. Of course I didn’t say anything… I wanted to remain “cool”.

Why did it taste so bad? Probably because it wasn’t really genuine Irish Guinness, I supposed.

A few years later while back up in the Bay Area to visit, I saw my brother Paul order a Guinness, so I thought I’d give it another try. Tasted like crap. However, I was starting to get used to it. Despite this fact, however, for my second beer I chose to order something else.

Over the years since then I’ve ordered Guinness now and again (probably once a year), hoping it I’d like it. Tasted like crap each time.

Then came my big chance to taste some real Guinness! On a trip to the U.K. to visit my wife’s relatives, we began by hopping over to Dublin for a few days. High on our list of priorities was to tour the “Guinness Storehouse”, an old factory building basically converted to a Guinness museum. After paying to enter, we were given a weird transparent plastic thing with a bubble of brown “Guinness” visible inside. This was to be traded for a pint of freshly pulled Guinness at the conclusion of our visit. Real, genuine Irish Guinness!

Touring the museum was fascinating, it’s really worth the time and money, and I learned a couple of important things: (1) Guinness absolutely denies the rumor that “Guinness in Ireland is somehow different from Guinness to be found elsewhere on the globe”. St. James Gate Brewery insists that Guinness taste the same all over the world. (2) Guinness has a long and varied history of creating intensive, clever, funny, and prolific advertising for their product.

Up in the Gravity Bar, the circular glass-walled bar above the Guinness Storehouse museum, we found a table and sat down, enjoying the 360-degree panoramic view of the slums that comprise the city of Dublin, Ireland. All around us sat members of Ireland’s young, educated elite. Looking cool, engaged in quiet conversation, and sipping their Guinness pints without smiles. Finally it was time. Time for me to rise and take our chits over to the bar to get our Guinness on! Real Guinness! We had a choice… traditional unchilled Guinness from the cask, or the new “Cold Guinness” from special pulls. I obtained one of each for us, knowing I’d be drinking most of both, since my lovely wife is pretty honest about her dislike of Guinness, although she does enjoy beer.

The traditional Guinness tasted like crap. The chilled Guinness tasted like crap.

The Assertion of the Theory

No one likes the taste of Guinness. However, thanks to an advertising campaign that stretches back into known history, everyone is convinced that Guinness is “so good” and “so cool” that no one wants to admit this. It’s bitter!

One thing I will admit that I learned at the museum, which made me respect Guinness somewhat and understand why it’s so bitter: Originally, the extra amount of Hops added (the reason for the bitterness), was included so as preserve Guinness on long ocean voyages. One of my favorite authors, Robert Lewis Stevenson, was quoted in the museum as writing how he enjoyed and looked forward to a bit of Guinness while on the high seas. Well, of course, if there’s nothing else going! I’ll bet it tasted great, bitter or not, compared to “nothing else going”!

Questions and Answers, including Views in Opposition to the Theory

QUESTION: Beers and Ales from the British Isles are supposed to taste bitter.

ANSWER: No they’re not. True, there are “bitters” (most English breweries will offer their own “bitter”) but a good bitter is far from tasting actually bitter.

QUESTION: Hey, I actually LIKE Guinness!

ANSWER: No, you don’t. You just think that all the “cool” people drink Guinness, and you want to be cool, too. You don’t really like the taste.

QUESTION: Yes, I do.

ANSWER: Well, you haven’t tried many other beers, then, have you, other than the ones forced down your throat by incessant advertising. You probably also like Newcastle Brown Ale. Well, actually I like that one too, but there are far better beers and ales than even that one.

QUESTION: About your theory… you’re wrong!

ANSWER: No, you are. You’re wrong.

QUESTION: You just don’t like stout!

ANSWER: Au contraire… stouts and porters are my very favorite types of beers!

QUESTION: Oh yeah? Like what?

ANSWER: Absolute tops: Theakston’s Old Peculiar, a dark ale. Anchor Steam Porter, a longtime San Francisco microbrewed rarity. Black’s Beach Extra Dark by our local Karl Strauss, but best wishes finding it actually available when you visit one of their San Diego locations.

QUESTION: Ahhh… you’re full of it. Guinness is the only true Irish stout!

ANSWER: False. You want an excellent Irish Stout? Try a Murphy’s… widely available throughout San Diego, thanks to the growing number of honest-tongued beer drinkers who have discovered the truth of my theory all on their own.

Photographic Documentation

Guinness Advertising:


Theakston’s:


Black’s Beach Extra Dark
(image unavailable -- it's that rare!)

Anchor Steam Porter


Murphy’s


Scene of the Finalisation of the Theory:

9 comments - Leave a comment Share Next Entry

Comments:

From:deeds_66
Date:December 23rd, 2004 01:02 am (UTC)
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Wow. Very convincing. I can remember when my dad actually started drinking Guinness a while ago. He liked the taste, not enough to start identifying himself with it or anything, but he does get Guinness every here and there. I think that it has a name and a clever trick called bravado, where Budweiser is for wussies and Guinness is for real men. Hey, not matter what you want to say, men still fall victim to look more tough to other people, enough to even force themself to get used to a bear they disdain.

I applaud you're theory and found the FAQ very helpful.
*Goes to memories*
From:deeds_66
Date:December 23rd, 2004 01:03 am (UTC)
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now if i can only learn to speak English maybe I will be able to get my point across...
From:steveterry
Date:December 23rd, 2004 01:18 am (UTC)
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I can understand your language okay. Thanks for posting a reply! Thanks for your support of my Theory.
From:steveterry
Date:December 23rd, 2004 01:16 am (UTC)
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You should sneak a Murphy's into the fridge. Once your Dad tastes it, guaranteed he will take all the Guinness in a wheelbarrow and dump it into the street.

ps. Notice I am not suggesting you "sneak a Murphy's" I said "sneak one into the fridge for your Dad to find". 2nd thought... that might not be a good idea, he might think its yours.
From:deeds_66
Date:December 23rd, 2004 01:33 am (UTC)
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LOL!

Wait second... I just made mention of your theory on beer to my mother who has brought an important point up to me. My dad never actually enjoyed Guinness apparently. My mom just thought heliked it so she bought it for him and, even though he didnt like it, drank it anyway. Then when she found out he didnt like it, she stopped buying it.

An addition to your theory. Men drink it just because their wives buy it and are too lazy to actually tell their wives that they dont like it.

And the mystery unfolds.
From:steveterry
Date:December 24th, 2004 12:43 am (UTC)
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Excellent on the addition to the theory! Outstanding work, my good man.

Soon we will rid the vile black liquid from shelves and refrigerators everywhere! Freedom from falsehood!

Wait a second... HEY! A Guinness van just pulled up to our apartment house... Whoa... 3 big guys in Guinness uniforms just got out...

They're knocking... ringing the buzzer... Hey, it's the sound of breaking glass !!!! Wendy, call 91~~/////////
From:graham_zulauf
Date:December 23rd, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Guiness is in the top five beers for me. It trails Bass, New Castle, and Murphy's; in that order.

Do you ever get that feeling like, "uh, this is just to overwhelming of a topic to take on"? That you feel so strongly about something but yet are too lazy to fight back? The feeling of when you meet a Trinitarian at the door and are like, "forget it, I'm not even going to start."? That's how I feel right now.

The pure, smooth, rich, and full-bodied taste of a cold Guiness on tap is something that is unrivaled in the beer world. It is unique in its own rite.

You made an excellent point that no one seems to believe. I have tried countless times to convince the many Guiness fanatics in our congregation that Murphy's contains a far superior taste and experince than that of Guiness. They are not easily swayed. This perhaps proves your point that Guiness lovers are blinded by the fanatic following and allegiance to ye old beverage.

I always use the coffee analogy with beer. 95% of the American public ingests coffee at least 3 times a week. If you asked each one of them what was their honest reaction to coffee the first 20 times they drank it, they'd probably admit that is was repugnant and disgusting. Yet if you ask the same group of people what is their favorite bevarage of choice in the morning, they will honestly and truthfully answer, "coffee." Why? Maybe the drink grew on them. Maybe their palate became more refined. Maybe they're bullcrapping themselves and everyone else around them.

I see your point that a majority of Guiness drinkers fall into the category of "fakers." I choose to live by the following creed when it comes to personal taste; wether it's music, food, beverage, movies, etc.

Like what you like.

If that means you like the new Britney Spears pop single, yet utterly, and categorically despise the pop genre, then the more power to you.

If you are a die-hard fan of Kong Kong cinema (flyingswordsman) and yet occasionaly watch re-runs of Gilligan's Island because you like it, then the more power to you.

My point is, if someone says they like Guiness they are one of two people:

-A true poser. Avoid this person's reccomendation on all things related to personal taste. Someone worthy to be ignored.

-A genuine dude. Listen carefully to his likes and dislikes. They are shaped by true experiences and opinions.

Long live the black stout!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 18th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC)

Yes

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I'm with this dude on this one. I would bet that, the first time any of us had our very first sip of beer, it "tasted like crap." I guarantee it. Beer is an aquired taste, and within the world of beers, there are various acquired tastes.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 18th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
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Brilliant! Thank you for the great info. Unfortunately, I just found out I am Celiac and part of the reason I have been so sick is drinking beer made out of wheat, barely, rye and so forth. Are there any good beers that don't have gluten? If so, I am there, I miss beer soo, soo, much!