Whether it’s shamrocks, the color green or leprechauns, St. Patrick’s Day is heavy on traditions.
None, however, may be taken as seriously and argued over more than the pouring of the most Irish of Irish beers – Guinness.
“Everyone believes their way is best,” said Mike Anglin, the owner of Tipsey McStumbles on Seventh Street in downtown Augusta. “Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 answers. Truth is, I’m a Guinness drinker and I’ve never had a bad Guinness – no matter how it’s poured.”
For Tipsey McStumbles bartender Britney Head, her routine is simple: Pour half. Wait. Top it off. Serve.
“I’ll let it sit at least a minute after pouring the first half,” Head said. “That way the foam on top keeps from getting too thick.”
At O’Donovan’s Irish Pub at Broad and 10th streets, bartender Craig Paro also uses a two-part pour. He fills nearly two-thirds of the glass before letting it rest.
“Guinness is the only beer that foams downward, so it’s important to take your time when it comes to pouring,” Paro said. “You have to make sure it settles. This isn’t like most beers. Back in the 1990s, Guinness reps would come to Irish pubs and teach bartenders how to do it right.”
After his initial pour – where the glass was tilted at a 45-degree angle – Paro waited about a minute, set the glass flat on the bar, then completed the service.
“You gotta pull the handle all the way down on the first pull,” Paro said. “Then pull it backwards on the second. I try to keep an eighth of an inch of head on top and about a half-inch of black on the bottom.
“Like I said, though, the most important thing is to let it settle.”
At Metro Coffee House at 1054 Broad St., bartender Wendy Watkins said there’s no secret to her way of pouring Guinness.
“I just make it perfect,” she said.
Watkins did say the process of pouring Guinness is more detailed than most beers.
“It takes longer to make,” she said. “I’d say typically it’s a three- to four-minute process, but I don’t do anything extra special.”
Though the Guinness debate will undoubtedly continue, Anglin said one thing is certain for Irish businesses on St. Patrick’s Day.
“This is our Christmas,” he said. “Business-wise, we look forward to this day more than any other.”