Stout – All you need is Guinness, says Doug McCaffrey
I love Guinness. It’s my go-to pint in most pubs. If I don’t know what I’m in the mood for, Guinness is always there until I do. Guinness also happens to be the greatest drink of all time. Its prevalence means that no matter where you are in the world you can get a pint of something familiar and comforting. Each pint evokes memories for me, it has accompanied good times and bad times. Everybody has a relative that drinks it.
So this little piece is to explain a few reasons why Guinness is the best drink ever. However, first of all, here’s a quick history lesson. Guinness was created by Arthur Guinness in 1759 at the St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. Since then it has grown to be sold in over 100 countries and almost 1.8 billion pints are sold annually.
So, in no particular order, here are a few reasons why Guinness is the world’s best drink.
1) Guinness is good for you
Guinness used to market itself with the above slogan after market research in the 1920s showed that folk ‘felt good’ after a pint of Guinness. The funny thing is that this can be backed up with some science. Guinness was actually prescribed to my Grandmother while she was pregnant with my Mum. By an actual doctor. It was thought that it contained iron, so was useful to help mother and baby. This was, of course, complete rubbish and this practise has been phased out.
However, a 2003 University of Wisconsin study showed that a pint of Guinness a day does the same good as a low of dose of aspirin, can help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of heart attacks. That’s right, you can legitimately claim your session on the ‘black stuff’ was in order to reduce your risk of dying.
I am currently dieting as I’m as what is referred to in the medical community, as a fat bastard. A pint of cider contains roughly 240 calories and lager has about 290-320 calories, depending on strength. Guinness is a skinny, 198 calories per pint. That’s right, Guinness is a low calories option behind the bar. (I am well aware that drinking slimline tonic and a clear spirit is better than Guinness but nobody wants to be that guy who drinks G&Ts in November.) I am going on the ‘Guinness diet’ to fit into my bikini next summer.
Guinness has been around since 1759. The following is a list of sovereign nations that have come into existence since Guinness did:
Nepal, USA, Madagascar, Haiti, Liechtenstein, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Greece, Lesotho, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Belgium, Tonga, Liberia, Italy, Germany, Montenegro, Romania, DR Congo, Philippines, Cuba, Panama, Albania, Finland, Ukraine, Estonia, Yemen, Austria, Latvia, Afghanistan, Canada, Iraq, Australia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Jordan (not her, although she’s had enough people in her to qualify as a small nation), Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Israel, Libya, Tunisia, Ghana, Malaysia, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Chad, CAR, Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Gabon, Nigeria, Kuwait, Burundi, Rwanda, Algeria, Jamaica, Singapore, Kenya, Malta, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Botswana, Barbados, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Bangladesh, Qatar, Bahrain, Bahamas, Guinea-Bissau, Grenada, Cape Verde, Comoros, Angola, Timor-Leste, Seychelles, Djibouti, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Belize, Antiga & Barbuda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Brunei, Marshall islands, Namibia, Belarus, Slovenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Eritrea, Somalia, Togo, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea (Why are there so many places named Guinea?), Mauritius, Swaziland, UAE, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Samoa, Syria, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Maldives, Malawi and South Africa.
Oh and Ireland too, who gained independence in 1919. That’s some serious staying power.
3) Cultural Impact
Guinness, unbelievably, only really began advertising in the 1930s when their sales began to take a dip. Their original range of Toucan-based posters, bar stands and badges are now highly collectable. In recent times the ‘Guinness Ad’ has become a TV highlight. Whether its snail racing, Rutger Hauer or surfing a big wave, they have provoked water cooler discussion and have garnered awards galore. In fact, the music from the ‘anticipation’ campaign (the black and white dancing around one that got Guinness sued by a whiny bitch) went to number 1 in Ireland and number 2 in the UK.
Guinness has managed to ingrain itself in the world’s consciousness as an embodiment of Ireland itself. If you ask somebody to name something from Ireland they will undoubtedly have Guinness in their first few answers (if they say Bono first you are legally allowed to hit them in the head). Try and imagine Saint Patrick’s day without Guinness. Go on. You can’t can you?
Guinness has managed to make themselves such a part of Ireland’s cultural identity that Dublin City Council has brought in prohibitive restrictions around the St James’s Gate Brewery concerning development. Guinness had hinted that they may move the brewery so the council made selling it virtually impossible as it was illegal to build houses in the area. Guinness means that much to Dublin and Ireland as whole.
4) Guinness & Food
Guinness is a great partner to food and especially meats. A good Steak and Guinness pie can be the pinnacle of comfort food and can be found on pub menus across the world. However there is one meal in particular that Guinness can make perfect.
There are a few things in the world I love more than a bacon sandwich. The very sound of popping, sizzling rashers in a pan begins to bring me out of the sleep/hangover fug that fills my mind most Saturdays. The smell of bacon cooking is enough to raise people from the dead. The sacrament of preparing your sandwich is a solemn and meticulous process. Whether you favour brown or white bread, sliced or roll, butter or marge, the construction of the bacon sandwich is as personal a ritual as modern life has.
Now imagine then, if somebody was able to make the bacon sandwich better. What would you do? Personally I cried. I wept tears of joy when I discovered it. Sobbing like a child as I chewed on the best bacon sandwich I have ever had.
The magical product that made this sandwich complete? Heinz’s HP Sauce with Guinness. It is a heady mix of rich, tangy HP sauce and smooth, delicious Guinness. If you add this concoction to a bacon sandwich it’s an almost religious experience. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone is having a really lovely time. Guinness has made the bacon sandwich better. Therefore Guinness is not just the best drink in the world, it’s the greatest thing humanity has ever produced.