In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’ll share my Irish drinking (what else) story.
A few years ago Leslie and I spent a month driving around Ireland. We had a fine time. Beautiful place, wonderful people.
Having spent more than a considerable amount of time in English pubs over the years I felt I should even things up in Ireland. Especially as I enjoy a pint of Guinness just as much as a pint of English Bitter.
And no matter how old you are there are still things to learn, as I did when ordering my first pint of Guinness that first night in Ireland. Turns out they don’t just ‘pull’ the pint, because you need to let the beer and foam settle. So proper form is to pull about 3/4’s of the glass, let it settle for 3 to 4 minutes, and then top it up.
So far so good. But now comes the etiquette.
What do you do with yourself while the publican is preparing your pint? And keep in mind that in a normal pub there is more than one Guinness that’s being prepared at any one time, so there are a number of pints lined up in various stages of preparedness and customers in various stages of inebriation.
You can just stand there like a moron and wait. You can step back a few paces and let someone else get up to the bar. You can go sit down and wait for the bartender to yell at you or even bring the pint over to you.
So many choices, so little time.
Well as you can probably guess, what you do depends mostly on the local pub and their customs. It will also depend on how crowded the pub is and how many pints are up and coming. The list goes on, but hey, this really isn’t rocket science.
And it always has a happy ending.
Anyway, after a few weeks spent in towns large and small, and pubs large and small I got to where I could enter a new pub and look around and pretty much figure out if they were serving fast (stay very near the bar) or slow (go sit down and don’t be pushy).
On the minor occasion that I got the etiquette wrong someone who had heard my accent would assume the reason I committed the faux pas was because I’m from America and don’t know any better. (No, the reason that I got it wrong is that every pub has a different system!)
Trying to be helpful they would take pains to explain how things worked. But it was frustrating being talked to like I was a dummy.
More to the point, they already were drinking their Guinness, while I was still waiting for mine.
And now back to the picture of those three beers up at the top of this post. As you can see they are all Irish brews … kidding!
In point of fact, and full disclosure, I have to admit that I came to enjoy Murphy’s even more than Guinness. It looks the same, but to my taste it’s a little better.
Just between us.