Five Guinness Myths That Need Dispelling

Guinness has got to be the most misunderstood beverage in the world. If I hear one more person refer to my pot of delicious black stout as a meal, it’s going all over them.

Can we just get one thing straight, it’s not a fucking meal in a glass.

Do not interrupt a man sipping a perfectly rested pint of Guinness Draught to ask him, ‘how he drinks that stuff,’ like he’s got his laughing gear wrapped around a thickshake of rotten stool. Because ultimately, the joke is on you, the deluded and uninformed amateur reciting a groundless myth to a man who can’t articulate his love for a drink you’ll never understand.

Unfortunately, the meal reference is one I hear all too often, and one I’d like to put it to bed, alongside a handful of myths associated with the drink. So, to save you from opening your mouth and delivering some insurmountable waffle next time you’re at the pub, I’ve dispelled some of the more common Guinness myths below.

Guinness Myths The Versatile Gent

1. Guinness is like a meal in a glass.

For those who visited the Guinness factory on Gap year and mixed god’s work with blackcurrant cordial because it was too bitter, or once had a sip on St Patrick’s day and pinched your mouth into a balloon knot because it was yucky, what you’re attempting to describe when you use the ‘meal reference’ is ‘mouthfeel.’

Guinness famously uses Nitrogen in their carbonation process; in fact, they invented ‘Nitro’ through a man named Michael Ash who joined the company in 1951. Unlike Carbon Dioxide bubbles which absorb more CO2 as they rise, Nitrogen bubbles remain tiny, which is what contributes to the creamy texture. In the pub, the liquid passes through a restrictor plate as it leaves the tap, before the surging of the bubbles, the settling and final top up which delivers the mousse-like head.

Amateurs are misled by the dense head and naturally dark colour from roasted barley, and assume it is ‘heavy.’ A taste of the frothy foam and nothing more (because these people never attempt a whole Guinness) further exacerbates the myth in question, spurring further conjecture about calories and alcohol content.

2. Guinness is high in calories and alcohol.

I’ll forgive you for the meal reference, I’ll judge you, but I’ll forgive you. What frustrates me more is old mate with his Asahi trying to give me a lecture about how Guinness, because of preassumed myth above, is contributing to my ever-expanding waistline – like he’s drinking a loose leaf green tea. What old mate doesn’t realise is that he’s slurping on one of the highest calorie beers you can buy, while my Guinness comes in just north of a light beer on carbs and calorie content. Where the majority of beer calories come from is in the alcohol content, and Guinness registers at 4.2% which keeps the calories down, and you from texting your ex. Ordering middies and sitting on them longer as they get closer to room temperature (something I don’t mind doing with Guinness) is a technique I often employ to avoid getting obliterated over the course of an entire evening at the pub.

3. You can only have one Guinness. 

I can assure you this is not the case.

4. Guinness is good for you.

The slogan that featured in the brand’s first print advertising campaign does hold some partial truths, with the drink containing a number of immune-boosting antioxidants. Researchers from a University of Wisconsin study discovered that drinking Guinness can make it harder for cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries and thus help reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attacks. Alongside antioxidants, it also contains traces of iron and phytoestrogen which stimulates bone density. In reality, alcohol isn’t good for you, and such messages advertised by the company in the 1930s and 40s were soon vetoed by the government. Whatever calories I don’t consume by choosing Guinness over White Rabbit Dark Ale, I consume across the road at Curry Palace with several Chicken Tikka pieces and an Aloo Chops mushed into a piping hot Cheese Naan and drenched in Butter Chicken sauce. It is however nice to know that 63 pots of Guinness delivers my recommended daily iron intake.

5. Guinness is black. 

While it appears to be black and is referred to lovingly as ‘black’, Guinness is actually a dark ruby red colour. And as of 2017, is also suitable for Vegan consumption from the keg.

Thankfully more Australian brewers like Four Pines and Feral Brewing are introducing ‘Nitro’ style beers which I’m hoping will slowly educate the masses who may never have experienced Guinness like mouthfeel in the past.

Please folks, next time you’re at an English or Irish pub or looking to get patriotic on St Patrick’s day, ask for a Guinness and tell the bartender you’ve got all the time in the world to wait for it. Then park your behind and watch it come to life over a good five minute period, executed with precision and passion, before bringing it to your lips for that first glorious sip, because the only thing that’s better than a perfectly poured Guinness, is telling some twat he’s wrong about it while you drink it.


James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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