The Art of Pouring a Perfect Pint

Whether you’ve been to Ireland or not, you may have witnessed the two-part process for pulling a picture-perfect pint of Guinness. The origin of the two-part pour dates back hundreds of years, and while modern technology has deemed it less necessary today, the method has stuck. With building anticipation between pours, there’s something extra special about savouring the first sip of this notoriously malty marvel.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we thought it was fitting to tap one of our in-house experts (pun intended) for a little intel on how they do things in Ireland! Regardless of your desire to down this oh-so-acquired stout, we’ve outlined the official Guinness guidelines for your reading pleasure. Sláinte!

pint of guinness with The Rabbit Hole bar in the backdrop

The Two-Part Pour

  1. Find yourself a clean, cool, dry Guinness-branded pint glass.
  2. Hold the glass under the tap at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Pull the handle forward until it is horizontal and fill the glass between about three-quarters of an inch from the top, making sure to never touch the tap to the beer.
  4. Leave the surge to settle for about two minutes. If you want to be exact, it’s 119.5 seconds according to Guinness pros.
  5. Top up the glass by pushing the tap handle backwards until the head is just shy of the rim. Don’t let it overflow, and never use a spatula to level it out.
  6. Shaky hands steer clear, there should be no overspill as you hand it off.

“While I don’t drink it myself, I have plenty of experience pouring it. If you intend on serving Guinness to anyone in a pub back home in Ireland, you better make sure the glass is bone dry. Then, a two-part pour is essential.”

– Fiona Kelly, General Manager, Luma

Foam of a Guinness with a shamrock design

No bar? No problem!

In case you’re not tapping kegs of the liquid gold regularly but still want to indulge in its creamy coffee notes once and a while (i.e. March 17), there’s still a proper way to get the most out of your can, though we can’t quite deem it Guinness-approved. Only slightly simpler than pulling a proper pint, here’s our recommendation when cracking a can.

  1. Grab your chilled can and a clean pint glass (branded = bonus points).
  2. Open your can on a flat surface and wait about five seconds, giving the nitrogen some time to surge into your beer.
  3. Tilt your glass to a 45-degree angle and begin your pour.
  4. When you’ve poured about 80%, straighten your glass. Finishing your pour this way will create the famously creamy Guinness head.
  5. Cheers, drink and repeat as desired.

“Growing up in Ireland, we’d go to mass followed by the St. Patrick’s Day parade in town. I always loved how people would wear live shamrocks on their lapels. In Canada, I usually get together with good friends and sing songs from home (with plenty of whiskey).”

– Fiona Kelly, General Manager, Luma

No matter how you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your Guinness with this guide in mind. Happy pouring!